ORANGEBURG – Based on the career resume of his opponent, Brian Nicpon shouldn’t have had a chance to win the 152-pound final at Saturday’s Rockland County Championships. But thankfully for the Suffern senior, the match wouldn’t be won on past accomplishments.
A decided underdog against two-time Section 1 champ Sean McGarvey of Pearl River, Nicpon’s 3-1 decision put an exclamation point on the Mounties’ third consecutive county title. It also sent a clear message to the rest of the section that he’s ready to compete with all-comers in the final weeks of the season.
“In my head, I was like, ‘You just have to go at this kid,’ ” Nicpon said. “He was up in weight. I don’t know how much he weighed, but I knew he was a lot lighter than me. I knew I could use my size and strength to my advantage, and just go after him.”
Nicpon was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler and was one of three champs for Suffern, along with fellow seniors Dean Artrip (120 pounds) and Peter Oliveto (138).
Artrip’s bout in the finals ended abruptly when he landed on his head and appeared to briefly lose consciousness. With the scored tied at 4-4, a slam was called on his opponent, Tappan Zee junior Nick Gjelaj, which resulted in a disqualification and win for Artrip.
“That was very scary, especially knowing Dean,” Nicpon said. “He can deal with pain, but I’ve never seen him like that. When I was warming up, I was thinking about him and what could have been happening.”
Pearl River edged North Rockland for second place in the team standings and crowned three champs — Dylan Urban (132), Jack Chesman (145) and Anthony Malfitano (170).
Urban’s win was especially noteworthy because he was trailing Suffern junior Pat Canty by two points when he caught him with a pin.
“The only thing going through my mind was, ‘I have to take him down,’ ” the sophomore said. “I did not expect (the pin), and just that feeling rushing through you as soon as I heard the slap, it was just amazing. That win was really big for me.”
North Rockland and East Ramapo matched Suffern and Pearl River with three champs apiece, with North Rockland dominating some of the lighter weights.
Jake Breyer won at 126 pounds after Joe Henion (99) and C.J. McMonegal (106) started off the finals with back-to-back wins. It was the second county title for McMonegal, whom Henion credited for his rapid development this season.
“I’ve been working hard in the room with my partner, C.J.,” he said after pinning Suffern’s Laurence Koodin in the finals. “We drill live and go 100 percent. If I’m doing something wrong, he’ll show me my mistake. He teaches me moves and he’s been a really good partner for me.”
East Ramapo had its success in the heavier weight classes, with seniors Jhavon Innocent (182), Josh Jean-Baptiste (220) and Jahkem Collins-Martinez (285) earning titles. Jean-Baptiste and Collins-Martinez survived overtime nail-biters, while Innocent squeaked out a 4-3 decision over Nyack senior Daniel Price.
Innocent beat Price by a more comfortable margin at last weekend’s Kohl Invitational, but a lingering shoulder injury has been difficult to overcome.
“My shoulder started to give out at the end of the match,” he said. “It’s very frustrating. Football messed me up, but I feel like it’s something I can work through. I beat the second and third ranked guys, so all I’ve got to beat is one more guy (John Jay’s Evan Frank).”
Clarkstown North had two champs in Ryan Cox (160) and Chris Marchena (195), while Tappan Zee had one winner in front of the hometown crowd.
Junior Mark Acheson picked up a 3-0 decision in the finals against Nanuet’s Akif Ahmad, his third win over him this season, and looks like a viable section title contender at 113 pounds.
“I think I can win it,” he said. “It’s an open weight class, and I feel like I’m the best kid there.”
Rockland County Championships
At Tappan Zee
Team standings: 1. Suffern (Sf) 263.5; 2. Pearl River (PR) 185.5; 3. North Rockland (NRk) 176.5; 4. Clarkstown North (CN) 125; 5. Tappan Zee (TZ) 96.5; 6. East Ramapo (ER) 87.5; 7. Clarkstown South (CS) 68; 8. Nanuet (Nan) 52; 9. Nyack (Ny) 39
99 – Joe Henion (NRk) pin Chris DiModugno (Nan), 2:48; Laurence Koodin (Sf) dec. Elijah Whitehead (ER), 8-2. 106 – CJ McMonegal (NRk) pin Jack Henry (CN), 3:21; Steven Trombetta (Sf) pin Mikey Nicpon (Sf), 3:33. 113 – Mark Acheson (TZ) dec. Will Marin (Sf), 5-1; Akif Ahmad (Nan) pin Ziaire Benjamin (ER), 1:04. 120 – Dean Artrip (Sf) maj. dec. Dante Simeti (PR), 15-1; Nick Gjelaj (TZ) pin Sean Henry (TZ), 1:25. 126 – Jake Breyer (NRk) dec. Christian Colon (NRk), 1-0; Vlad Sidorenko (PR) pin Jose Gagliardi (Ny), 3:51. 132 – Dylan Urban (PR) pin Josh Fernandez (NRk), 2:59; Patrick Canty (Sf) dec. Brendan Henry (TZ), 10-9. 138 – Peter Oliveto (Sf) tech. fall Jon Stefano (CS), 15-0; Justin Moronta (NRk) dec. Emmet McCann (PR), 14-12. 145 – Jack Chesman (PR) dec. Anthony Guccione (Sf), 3-2; Mike Criscione (NRk) dec. Brice Artrip (Sf), 3-1. 152 – Sean McGarvey (PR) pin Naphe Powell (NRk), 3:55; Brian Nicpon (Sf) dec. Steven Torres (CN), 8-7. 160 – Ryan Cox (CN) dec. Radu Stancescu (Sf), 5-1; Chris Cruger (NRk) dec. John Rogers (CS), 8-2. 170 – Anthony Malfitano (PR) pin Dan Sharp (Sf), 3:01; Michelangelo Caruncho (CN) pin Sean Hagan (CS), 3:14. 182 – Jhavon Innocent (ER) pin Nick Schiavone (PR), 4:34; Daniel Price (Ny) dec. Tim Henion (NRk), 5-2. 195 – Chris Marchena (CN) pin Wynnum Sabile (CS), 0:42; Dante Frazer (Ny) dec. Paul Lee (TZ), 7-0. 220 – Josh Jean-Baptiste (ER) tech. fall Gannon Duffy (PR), 15-0; Tyrell Jackson (Sf) pin Pat Fenton (NRk), 3:49. 285 – Jahkem Collins-Martinez (ER) pin Mike Gedeiko (TZ), 0:19; Tyler DiLorenzo (PR) dec. Tyler Hartfield (Sf), 2-1 UTB.
99 – Henion (NRk) pin Koodin (Sf), 4:40. 106 – McMonegal (NRk) maj. dec. Trombetta (Sf), 12-4. 113 – Acheson (TZ) dec. Ahmad (Nan), 3-0. 120 – Artrip (Sf) by disq. Gjelaj (TZ). 126 – Breyer (NRk) dec. Sidorenko (PR), 5-3. 132 – Urban (PR) pin Canty (Sf), 3:11. 138 – Oliveto (Sf) maj. dec. Moronta (NRk), 12-4. 145 – Chesman (PR) pin Criscione (NRk), 5:37. 152 – Nicpon (Sf) dec. McGarvey (PR), 3-1. 160 – Cox (CN) dec. Cruger (NRk), 1-0. 170 – Malfitano (PR) dec. Caruncho (CN), 4-1. 182 – Innocent (ER) dec. Price (Ny), 4-3. 195 – Marchena (CN) dec. Frazer (Ny), 4-0. 220 – Jean-Baptiste (ER) dec. Jackson (Sf), 2-1 OT. 285 – Collins-Martinez (ER) dec. DiLorenzo (PR), 2-1 UTB.