MANHEIM, PA — Local wrestlers will take to the mat one last time this season for the NYS Championships, hosted by Journeyman Wrestling at Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Journeymen Wrestling Club declares itself the home of amateur wrestling in the Capital Region, Upstate New York, and its mission is to teach, promote, and showcase world-class amateur wrestling. Founder Frank Popolizio is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and due to the NYSPHSAA Championships being canceled this year, his organization stepped in to provide an option for young grapplers to cap off their 2020-2021 campaigns.
“With the state guidelines, it’s tough to host any event of that size in New York due to COVID protocols,” said Alexander head coach Scott Wessell. “Journeyman saw an opportunity and ran with it. Looking at the talent on the seeding, it’s an impressive list of top-tier wrestlers.”
A few of those wrestlers come from the GLOW Region, including Batavia/Attica’s Casper Stewart and Travis Kauffman.
Stewart, a freshman, is the five seed at 132 pounds and is chasing top-seeded Jordan Titus, a senior from Center Moriches, who has committed to wrestle at West Virginia University next year. Kauffman, a senior, is an at-large selection at 145 pounds, as is Cal-Mum senior Isaac Crane. Both are chasing top-seeded Rocco Camillaci, a junior from Hilton. Stewart and Kauffman each won Section V Championships this season.
“I view it as an opportunity for him to continue his high school career,” said Chip Day, Cal-Mum head coach about Crane. “With such a short season and not being prepared as much as I would like him to be, I think he’s going to do really well.”
Joining Stewart at 132 pounds will be Alexander sophomore Ben Merrill, who is an at-large entry.
“When Benny wrestles his match, not many wrestlers can beat him,” said Wessell. “He’ll definitely be a tough draw for anyone that has to wrestle him. His weight is loaded with hammers with state experiences and titles.”
At 152 pounds, Avon/Geneseo senior Ryan Caudill comes in as the five seed, chasing top-seeded Zack Ryder, a freshman and defending state champion from Minisink Valley.
“Ryan is a hard worker and enjoys the sport so much,” said A/G head coach Andy Englert. “These tournaments are so challenging and seeds are hard. He just needs to wrestle each match being focused.”
The Journeyman NYS Tournament was seeded by a three-person committee, which carefully evaluated each wrestler’s total body of work over the past 15+ months. Consideration was given to the 2019-2020 regular season results, 2020 state qualifying tournaments, 2020 state championship tournaments, 2020/2021 off-season results, and the 2021 regular season when applicable.
The tournament kicks off on Friday afternoon. Check thedailynewsonline.com for updates.