EDGEMONT, N.Y. — When the seeds came out for the Section 1 Division 2 Dual Meet Tournament, Nanuet wasn’t very pleased. The Golden Knights, who are the defending Section 1 Division 2 champions, were No. 2 behind Edgemont.
Nanuet graduated four state qualifiers and fields a relatively young team with a junior heavy line-up, while Edgemont returned all of its starters from last season.
But the Golden Knights still came out on top.
Nanuet beat host Edgemont, 49-32, to win the Section 1 Division 2 Dual Meet tournament on Monday. It was the first time the tournament was broken up between Division 1 and 2 schools.
“It was a goal we’ve had since the beginning of the year,” Nanuet coach Carmine Serra said. “It doesn’t change our ultimate goal. We still think about February. All that we do in December is really pushing us toward that (winning the section). I’m pretty proud of the kids. They did very well today.”
Nanuet fell behind early. The Panthers jumped out to a 20-4 lead behind a Will Graybeal win by technical fall at 126 pounds, followed by pins from Peter Berman (138) and Ross Kantor (152). Jack McCormack also picked up a 5-0 decision over Jazz Saraguro at 145 pounds.
But when they reached the 160-pound weight class, the tide turned in Nanuet’s favor. The Golden Knights rattled off eight wins in a row, including four victories by forfeit.
Nanuet’s Mike Buhlmann started things off with a win by injury default over Oliver Oks. At 170 pounds, junior Peter Smith pinned Chris Kim at 5:36 to cut it to 20-16.
“In the third period when I finally got my chance and got out, I reversed him,” Smith said. “Then I just got that bar and ran it.”
Kevin Brundage (182) and Sergio Ventura (195) picked up forfeit wins to give Nanuet a 28-20 lead.
Junior Dan Breit earned a 7-4 decision over Daniel Kornberg at 220 pounds to extend Nanuet’s lead to 31-20. Breit, who normally competes at 195 pounds, was wrestling up a weight class.
“I knew he was going to try to throw me, so I just stuck with my shots and got the points that I needed to get the win,” Breit said. “I wasn’t really nervous — I knew he was going to be heavy. I’ve never wrestled up at 220 before. Last year I was 189, so going to 220 is kind of a big jump.”
Josh Nelson won by forfeit at 285 pounds for the Golden Knights. Then 99-pounder Joe Dillon made quick work of Kyle Aslanian, pinning him in just 16 seconds. A Vincent Skokos victory by forfeit gave Nanuet a commanding 49-20 lead.
Junior Matt Dillon also picked up a win for Nanuet by major decision at 132 pounds.
Nanuet was without a top grappler due to illness in junior Anthony Calvano, who is a two-time section champion and has over 100 career wins.
“Knowing that Anthony wasn’t going to be here, we all knew that we had to work as hard as we possibly can in order to pull off this win,” Breit said. “We knew that we were going to come back in our heavyweights.”
Serra was proud that his team was able to overcome missing one of their best grapplers.
“We told them that there’s no one kid that will determine whether we win or lose,” the coach said. “The kids all responded. There’s other solid kids on the team, and we showed that today.”
Edgemont’s Rikesh Mistry (113) and Max Abramsky (120) earned pins in the final two matches of the day. The Panthers were also missing key wrestlers due to illness in junior Trey Aslanian, a state finalist last season, and Tyler Aslanian.
The Golden Knights are happy to start the season on a high note and hope to build off of it in their quest to repeat as Section 1 champions.
“This gives us a lot of confidence,” Breit said of winning the tournament. “We had a pretty good feeling that we were going to do very well. Seeing that Edgemont was ranked ahead of us, it made us determined to do better.”
Serra admitted that he knew this team had plenty of potential, but they’re ahead of where he expected them to be at this point in the season.
And they’re bound to only get better.
“If everyone’s working hard in the room, we can accomplish any goal,” Smith said. “This gives us good confidence, but we’ve got to keep on working hard.”
99 – Joe Dillon (Nan) wins by pin (0:16) over Kyle Aslanian (Edg)
106 – Vincent Skokos (Nan) wins by forfeit
113 – Rikesh Mistry (Edg) wins by pin (1:17) over Eric Boyle (Nan)
120 – Max Abramsky (Edg) wins by pin (0:54) over Chris Morato (Nan)
126 – Will Graybeal (Edg) wins by 15-0 tech. fall over Chris Lowery (Nan)
132 – Matt Dillon (Nan) wins by 10-0 major decision over Colin Hopkins (Edg)
138 – Peter Berman (Edg) wins by pin (5:25) over Jon Spiegel (Nan)
145 – Jack McCormack (Edg) wins by 5-0 decision over Jazz Saraguro (Nan)
152 – Ross Kantor (Edg) wins by pin (3:56) over Cody Fitzgerald (Nan)
160 – Mike Buhlmann (Nan) wins by injury default (2:24) over Oliver Oks (Edg)
170 – Peter Smith (Nan) wins by pin (5:36) over Chris Kim (Edg)
182 – Kevin Brundage (Nan) wins by forfeit
195 – Sergio Ventura (Nan) wins by forfeit
220 – Dan Breit (Nan) wins by 7-4 decision over Daniel Kornberg (Edg)
285 – Josh Nelson (Nan) wins by forfeit
Follow Rob DiAntonio on Twitter @MSGV_RJD