This past weekend Apex Wrestling School attended the Pop-N-Flo National Duals.  For the second year in a row we brought two high school teams and for the first time an elementary team.  The youth team battled with some of the best young wrestlers in the country and placed 4th.

The high school teams had a great tournament as well.

Our second team started with what was arguable the worst draw of the entire tournament, with the number 2 seed X-Cel from Long Island.  X-Cel, a team comprised of 5 NY State Champions and several more kids who placed in the top 3, dominated the dual.  Although the second team lost to the eventual winners, they had one of the most impressive performances of any team.  The young team did a tremendous job of fighting hard for one another and came back for 5th place, the highest you could place if you lost in the first round.  In total they went 4-1, capping off the tournament with a thrilling 29-28 victory over NE Elite.

Coming down to just two bouts left and down by several points Second Team Captain Gavin Murray pointed out a weakness in the other teams line-up and Coach Erik made a last second switch.  Matt Murphy who was supposed to wrestle at 125 for the dual was moved down to 120 and Matt Rose was bumped to 125.  Murphy came through with a dominate win and Rose sealed the deal in a thrilling OT win!

The first team had a tremendous tournament as well.  As the returning national champions the Apex team earned the 1st seed where it easily made the semi-finals.  There the team found themselves against a familiar foe in IronHorse (NJ.)  The entire gym stopped wrestling and the arena crowded around the mat to watch Apex take on Ironhorse for the second year in a row.  Last year Apex defeated Ironhorse in the finals by a slim margin.  This year was once again a back and forth match, filled with intense wrestling, in which Apex was able to overcome our instate rivals with a 27-24 victory.

In the finals for the second year in a row, Apex found themselves battling a load X-Cel team that had five NYS Champions and several finalists.  The X-Cel team, who was also much older than the Apex team, had had an easy road to the finals and was well rested.  Below are the rosters of the team teams:

Team X-Cel:  (3 of their wrestlers are not full time X-Cel members.  They do train their occasionally.)

105 –   Jay Rodriguez, 2nd in NYS, 9th grade

113 –   Nick Piccininni, State Champion, 9th grade

120 –   Pat Skinner, 3rd in NYS, 12th grade

125 –   Travis Passaro, 2nd in Region, 11th grade

130 –   Sean McCabe, State Champion, 12th grade

135 –   Maverick Passaro, State Champion, 12th grade

140 –   Tommy Dutton, 4th in Region, 9th grade

145 –   Louis Hernandez, State Qualifier, 10th

152 –   James DeKrone, State Champion, 12th grade

152 –   Sam Schwartzapfel, 4th in Region, 12th grade

160 –   Dylan Palacio, State Champion, 12th grade

160 –   Nick Hall, 2nd in NYS, 12th grade

170 –   Zac Mullen, 4th in NYS, 12th grade

182 –   Dylan Seybolt, 3rd in NYS, 12th grade

182 –   Colin Gironda, 3rd in Region 12th grade

195 –   Nick Weber, State Qualifier, 10th grade

220 –   Kenny Drew, 4th in Region, 12th, grade

285 –   Dante Salkey, 5th in NYS, 12th grade

Team Apex: (Only 2 are not full time Apex members, both train occasionaly with Apex.) 

105-    Nick Suriano, 8th grade, Apex member for 5 years

113-     Joe Travato, 9th grade, 5th in NJ, Apex member for 6 years

            John Stramiello, 6th in NYS, Apex member for 5 years

120-    Luis Gonzalez, 4th in 2012, 2nd in 2011, 10th grade, Apex member for 8 years

125-    Joe Oliva, State Qualifier, 10th grade, Apex member for 6 years

130-    Matt Caputo, three time state qualifier, 6th in ’10, 10th grade, Apex member for 2 years

135-    Richie Lewis, 5th in NJ, 11th grade, Apex member for 1 1/2 years

140-    Jason Estevez, 3rd in NJ, 11th grade, Apex member for 8 years

145-    BJ Claygon, State Champion, 11th grade, occasional Apex practice and team member

152-    Lenny Richardson, State Champion, 12th grade, Apex member for 10 years

160-   John Balboni, 8th in NJ, 11th grade, Apex member for 7 years.

           Brandon Keena, state qualifier, 11th grade, Apex member for 4 years

170-   Tony Pafumi, 3rd in NJ, 12th grade, Apex member for 6 years

182-   Bryan Loughlin, 4th in NJ, 12th grade, Apex member for 6 years

195-   Tyler Rios, 12th grade, occasional Apex practice and team member

           Eric McMullen, 2nd in NJ, 12th grade, Apex member for 1 year

220-

285-  Mike Spencer, 4th in NJ, 12th grade, Apex member for 6 years

Starting off the first match was Sophomore Matt Caputo against NYS Champion Sean McCabe.  Matt scored the first takedown but ultimately wasn’t able to hold on to the win.  What makes this match so incredible is that Matt wrestled all day Sunday, including the semi-finals and finals with an injuried ankle.  It was discovered on Monday that he wrestled the entire tournament with a broken ankle and is now in a cast up to his knee.  Matt’s mental toughness was essential to the team making it to the finals and keeping the score close.

The back and forth match came down to the last bout as Apex found itself down 21-24.  Sophomore Joe Oliva was up against won of X-Cel’s best kids Travis Passaro.  Oliva, a heavy underdog, came through with a huge 3-0 deicision to tie the match 24-24.  Unfortunately Apex ultimately lost due to the third tie breaking criteria, most bouts won (8-7.)

With 10 of the 15 starters from this team returning next year and many up and coming young guns in the club we are already focused on returning to the national finals for the third year in a row next year and returning with nothing but another national championship!

Here are some picutres from the weekend:

Check out our facebook page for more photos: