Edgemont senior Trey Aslanian isn't used to working that hard to get out of Section 1 to clinch a berth in the New York State Championships, but he certainly had to earn it on Sunday. The Panthers' 120-pounder found himself matched up with Nanuet senior Anthony Calvano in the Division 2 section finals, pitting arguably the two most decorated wrestlers in the small school division against each other.
Aslanian, a two-time state runner-up, got the better of Calvano, a four-time state qualifier, thanks to a late takedown for a 3-1 decision.
"I try not to concern myself, but I respect him for it," said Aslanian, who wasn't sure if Calvano would compete at 120 until this week. "It shows how tough of a kid he is, but was I surprised? Yeah, a little surprised."
Aslanian won his individual battle with Calvano, but Nanuet got the better of Edgemont in the team standings. For the third consecutive year, the Golden Knights captured the sectional title.
"It's awesome," senior Matt Dillon said. "We're all seniors, we all love wrestling and we all love doing this together. It's a good way to go out. We didn't have as many finalists as we would have liked, but we worked hard in the wrestlebacks to get that team title."
Dillon (145 pounds) and Dan Breit (220) each won titles for Nanuet. Dillon was finally able to get over the hump by defeating Westlake's Nick O'Hallaran in the 145-pound final with a 3-1 decision.
"Two years in a row I took second, so I wasn't going to make it a third time," he said.
Putnam Valley continued to show signs of progress by taking second overall with Noah Kelvas (106), Chris Bruno (132) and John Messinger (170) each winning titles. For Messinger, it was his second in a row.
"Going for a second time (to states), it's going to be a lot better," Messinger said. "The first time you go there, it's a big thing, but you kind of get caught up in it. Now, I've seen that before and I've done it, so all it's going to be about is winning."
The Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament was Pleasantville's Stephen Paternostro, who finished the day with two impressive matches. In the 126-pound semifinals, he upset two-time state qualifier Joe Dillon of Nanuet with a 6-5 decision. He then added an exclamation point with a thrilling 15-second pin of Putnam Valley's AJ Mirabal in the finals.
Another wrestler who had a big day was Westlake senior Edgar Solis, who won a title at 160 with an 8-2 decision over Putnam Valley's Angelo Zegarelli. Solis won a section title as a sophomore, but was upset in the semifinals last season.
"It was very upsetting," Solis said of losing last year. "I had nightmares every night reliving that. Going into my senior year, I knew I had to win it this year. I put more effort into practice, drilled harder and just kept focus."
Pleasantville's James Bathon (99), Irvington's Brett Pastore (152), Edgemont's Chris Kim (182) and Ardsley's Stephen Samolsky (113) and Drew Longo (138) were the other locals to win Division 2 section titles.