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Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016: Highlights from the NYSPHSAA wrestling tournament

   Leading off today: If a reporter goes to the state wrestling meet and can't stumble across half a dozen good story ideas then he or she just isn't trying hard enough. As usual, Saturday's finals at the Times Union Center presented plenty of story material.

   Chief among them may have been Alex Herringshaw of Holland Patent, who secured his third championship in Division II by pinning Lyle Grant of Alden in the 170-pound final on the same night that teammate Hunter Richard also triumphed.

   Donnie Webb of told Herringshaw's compelling story last week in a feature. Just the fact that he'll carry a 253-32 career record to the U.S. Military Academy is worthy of notice. But the real story begins with the death in September 2013 of training partner Kasey Proper from Vernon-Verona-Sherrill due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a rare heart condition.

   Herringshaw wears a tattoo in Proper's honor -- a drawing the teen did -- along the left side of his rib cage. Cory Proper, Kasey's father, has the same tattoo.

   The kicker to the story -- and you really should read the whole piece -- is that Cory Proper, 42, has stepped in as Herringshaw's training partner. After practice each day at Holland Patent, Herringshaw drives to Vernon to train for another 90 minutes with Proper.

   "Wrestling is the outlet for how we get away from things," Proper said.

   Said Herringshaw: "He's the only one that'll do it. He's the only coach that'll step out on the mat and wrestle hard with someone for hours."

   Hilton's triple-crown day: Junior Yianni Diakomihalis ran his string of NYSPHSAA championships to four and had Cadet company on the podium as his brother Greg and Louie DePrez also brought home the top prize for Hilton.

   Eighth-grader Greg Diakomihalis won the Division I title at 99 pounds over Dylan Ryder, a sophomore at Half Hollows West who was top-seeded. Yianni Diakomihalis, who won a world cadet championship last summer, defeated Matthew Grippi of Fox Lane 13-5 at 138 pounds. DePrez was a 9-1 winner over Hauppauge senior Marcus Bisono for his second state championship.

   Alexander junior Dane Heberlein defeated Mexico senior Theo Powers 5-3 in the Division II 120-pound final to claim his second title and also avenge a loss in the 113 class a year ago.

   Heberlein and Yianni Diakomihalis earned the event's outstanding wrestler awards.

   More Yianni: Attendance at the 2016-17 Hilton wrestling opener figures to be higher than usual. Barring the unexpected, that will be the night Diakomihalis seeks to extend his state record winning streak to a rice round number: 200.

   There's that name again: The only loss in Vito Arujau's scholastic career came in the state finals when he was in the eighth grade -- an overtime rideout criteria setback to Hilton's Yianni Diakomihallis.

   The Syosset junior is now 178-1 with three NYSPHSAA championships after a 19-6 win over Fred Eckles of Lake Shore in the Division I 132-pound final. He finished this season 47-0 to run his winning streak to 136 matches.

   "We're seeing in Vito one of Long Island's all-time greatest talents on the mat," Syosset coach Mike Murtha said.

   Big leap, same result: Long Beach's Jacori Teemer won championships at 99 and 106 pounds in eighth and ninth


  • 2016 NYSPHSAA boys basketball brackets
  • 2016 NYSPHSAA girls basketball brackets
  • 2016 NYSPHSAA boys hockey brackets
  • 2016 N.Y. complete wrestling brackets (PDF)

  • grades, respectively. When he returned to Albany this weekend, he did so as a 126-pound sophomore.

       The fact that he carried a 45-0 record into the meet suggested he had the chops to repeat despite the big leap in classes, but there would be a major obstacle in the form of Huntington's John Arceri, the Division I champ at 113 a season ago and an opponent he'd never had to face.

       "If there was anyone who was going to stop me, it was him," Teemer said.

       Teemer prevailed 6-3 in the final for his third championship.

       "I'm one of the biggest 126-pounders," Teemer said. "We both have the same credentials. We're both state champs, and I had to push harder than he did. I had never wrestled him before."

       No wrestler from Long Island has ever won five state championships, but Teemer is in the conversation now.

       "I always think about it," he said.

       Making some L.I. history: With so few "small" schools eligible, Long Island had never had a two time Division II champion until this weekend. Matteo DeVincenzo of Port Jefferson broke the ice with a 2-1 decision of Hunter Dusold of Locust Valley at 126 pounds to finish off a perfect season and end his career with a 148-4 mark.

       DeVincenzo never trailed in the final weekend of his high school career.

       "I try and wrestle smart and I don't really get nervous," the Princeton recruit said. "If it's a 1-0 match, I'm going to stay on my feet, but I'm not going to get taken down. That's just how I wrestle. I don't think I've got hit for stalling all tournament and it's because I just keep going forward on my feet."

       The final numbers: Here are links wrapping up the weekend of wrestling in Albany:

       Much more Monday: Family commitments and the "real job" will keep me offline the remainder of the day. I'll catch up Monday on basketball, gymnastics and more and start plugging teams into our hoops brackets as well.

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