2021-22 Journal/News lohud Mean 15 Best Returning Wrestlers


The coronavirus pandemic may have impacted the 2020-21 wrestling season, but it looks like things are getting back to normal for the sport. All Lower Hudson Valley teams are eligible to compete.

As they prepare for their first encounters of the season, here’s a look at the top returning wrestling talent in Section 1 and the region.

This year, Journal News/lohud Mean 15 spotlights stars from Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties.

Wrestlers are chosen based on past performance, talent, and projected development. Here are this year’s selections.

Officials: Section 1 and winter sports officials could fight over COVID-19 mandates

Last year: Meet the average 15 of section 1 2020-21

The 2021-22 average 15

Noah Bernstein

The school: Edgemont

Year: Senior

What does Noah mean? Bernstein finished second in Section 1 Division II at 138 pounds as a sophomore, finishing the 2019-20 season with a 22-10 record. He has grown a lot since then. Bernstein placed fifth at the New York State Journeymen Wrestling Championships last April, which merged wrestlers from major and minor school divisions into the same category, unlike the traditional NYSPHSAA tournament.

steven burell

The school: New Rochelle

Year: Senior

What does Steven mean? He returns to the Mean 15 for the second consecutive year. Two years ago, he was the Section 1 Division I runner-up at 160 pounds, got a wildcard offer to play in the NYSPHSAA tournament and finished with a 35-11 record. Although wrestling was limited last season, he continued his rise with a fifth-place finish at the New York State Journeymen Wrestling Championships. Burrell will be firmly in pursuit of a Section 1 title and all-state honors.

Angelo Centrone

The school: mahopac

Year: Senior

What does Angelo mean? Centrone is back on the Mean 15 for the third straight year. As impressive as he has been throughout his career at Mahopac, he is set for his biggest season yet. A two-time all-state wrestler, 2020 Eastern States Classic place finisher and Section 1 champion, Centrone dominated as a sophomore two years ago, racking up a 44-4 record. He went undefeated against opposition in section, winning every match by pinfall, technical pinfall, or major decision. He likely would have achieved all-state honors again last season, as evidenced by his runner-up finish at the New York State Journeymen Wrestling Championships.

Sean Degl

The school: Iona Preparation

Year: Junior

What does Sean mean? The son of John Degl, a former 1991 Mahopac State Champion who became a star at the University of Iowa, it’s safe to say wrestling is in his blood. Young Degl went 33-15 as a freshman at Iona Prep two years ago. He continued his development and made the most of a condensed season as a sophomore, going 17-2. He won another CHSAA league crown and finished second in the CHSAA State Tournament.

Robert DePolito

The school: North Rockland

Year: Junior

What does Robert mean? A two-time Rockland County champion and all-sections wrestler, DePolito didn’t have a chance to build on his strong 36-13 freshman season from 2019-20. He was a consistent player throughout his time in North Rockland, posting consecutive 30-win seasons. He had success at county level and started to go even further as a division champion and section finisher as a rookie, but this may be the year he can break out and enjoy. a deeper run in the playoffs.

Owen Deutsch

The school: Mamaroneck

Year: Senior

What does Owen mean? After making a big leap forward as a sophomore in 2019-20, Deutsch made the most of the COVID-affected year and continued to develop as a wrestler. His hard work resulted in podium finishes at the New York State Journeymen Wrestling Championships (eighth) and the New York State Freestyle and Greco-Roman Championships (fourth). He went 22-6 as a sophomore, finishing as the division champion and Division I Section 1 runner-up to eventual all-state finisher Chris Crawford of Beacon. This loss to Crawford was his only against sectional competition.

Justin Fortugno

The school: Byram Hills/Briarcliff/Valhalla/Westlake

Year: Senior

What does Justin mean? A three-time all-sections wrestler, Fortugno is destined to do more this season. He earned his best sophomore sections ranking in 2020, finishing second to Centrone at 113 pounds. Fortugno was able to get a taste of the NYSPHSAA tournament as a wildcard offer, and he finished with a 35-12 record that year. He’ll be determined to leave it all behind as he strives for his first division title and all-state finish in his final season.

Gabriel Garibaldi

The school: Iona Preparation

Year: Junior

What does Gabriel mean? The younger brother of recent White Plains graduate and standout Sebastian Garibaldi, Gabriel is ready to forge his own name at Iona Prep. He’s come a long way since his 22-17 debut season in 2019-20 with the Tigers. White Plains was one of several school districts to retire from wrestling last winter, so it had to show its growth in offseason club tournaments. He won a few matches at the prestigious Super 32 tournament, won a NUWAY Summer Nationals title in Wildwood, NJ, and defeated a few non-New York State champions along the way.

Justin Gierum

The school: way of the fox

Year: Junior

What does Justin mean? Injuries forced him to miss the first half of his rookie season, but once back on the mat he didn’t miss his stride. Gierum went 18-6 and finished fourth at the Section 1 Division I championships at 132 pounds, winning every section in a tough weight class. Gierum has only grown since then and is set for a big breakout campaign as a junior.

Eric Grant

The school: Iona Preparation

Year: Second year

What does Eric mean? He made a solid first impression in the CHSAA, going 17-1 as a freshman last season. As wrestling returns to normal for the rest of the lower Hudson Valley, expect Grant to generate even more buzz. He will look to build on his college debut which included a CHSAA championship title and a third-place finish in the CHSAA State Tournament.

Jake Hoffman

The school: way of the fox

Year: Senior

What does Jake mean? The only other three-time Mean 15 wrestler on this list, Hoffmann is looking to pick up where he left off two seasons ago. He won consecutive Section 1 titles in first and second year. He earned all-state honors for the first time in an impressive 2019-20 campaign where he was the only Section 1 wrestler to reach the 50-win mark, finishing with a 50-7 record.

John McGowan

The school: Mamaroneck

Year: Senior

What does John mean? A two-time all-section wrestler, McGowan is looking forward to finally getting the chance to build on his 29-8 sophomore season from a few years ago. The Tigers senior has been on the mat since then, finishing third at the New York State Freestyle and Greco-Roman Championships in May. He will look to assemble his deepest run to date at Sections and qualify for his first NYSPHSAA tournament.

Zander Miller

The school: Edgemont

Year: Senior

What does Sander mean? Miller won his first Section 1 Division II title at 132 pounds as a sophomore in 2020, finishing that season with a 22-8 record. His time in Albany was brief, but he got a taste of the state tournament. Miller was younger then, but he’s more seasoned now and those experiences will fuel him on his quest for another section title and perhaps a deeper run at the NYSPHSAA tournament.

Christian Perlleshi

The school: Pleasantville

Year: Junior

What does Christian mean? One of three remaining Division II Section 1 champions of 2020, Perlleshi won the Westchester County and Section titles en route to his first-ever trip to Albany for the NYSPHSAA Tournament. He finished 27-5 as a freshman this season. Pleasantville wasn’t given the green light to wrestle last year, but Perlleshi got busy. He finished second at the New York State Freestyle and Greco-Roman Championships.

Joseph Tornambe

The school: Yorktown

Year: Second year

What does Joseph mean? He made his eighth grade college debut two years ago and finished 26-14. There were a few highlights, growing pains and lessons learned, which helped Tornambe find the podium at the Journeymen Wrestling New York State Championships in April. Tornambe is in a prime position to continue progressing on the mat as he targets his best season yet in his young career.

Others to watch

Shane Acheson, Jr., Tappan Zee

Jonathan Benitez, Sr., Ossining

Marc Berisha, Sr., Fox Lane

Nicholas Bolanos, Sr., Port Chester

Luis Diaz-Giron, Sr., Fox Lane

Seth Frendel, Jr., Clarkstown North

Nick Greco, So., Mahopac

Spencer Hadlock, Jr., John Jay-Cross River

Cole Joseph, Jr., Hackley

Jake Kern, Sr., John Jay-Cross River

Kevin McCarvill, Jr., Iona Prep

Dhilan Patel, Sr., Edgemont

Tristan Robinson-July, Jr., Ossining

Ian Sutherland, So., Brewster

Leo Venables, Sr., Carmel

Terrance Walden, Jr., Iona Prep

Follow Eugène Rapay on Twitter at @erapay5 and on Instagram at @byeugenerapay.


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