Wrestling: Arlington enjoys 'gifted' season, as wrestlers evolve
Arlington High School wrestling coach Dave Grafmuller made sure his team adhered to every safety protocol imaginable.
There was painter’s tape on the mat, ensuring social distancing. Each wrestler had one practice partner for the season, in an effort to limit physical interaction and the spread of germs. Only a certain number of athletes were allowed to travel and masks became as important as singlets and headgear.
“We said this season is a gift, but we have to make sure we follow these rules to make sure the gift lasts six weeks and not one week,” Grafmuller said. “But everybody got it. Everybody who came out wanted to be there and knew what it entailed.”
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The Arlington wrestling team’s understanding of the rules — and each wrestler’s mat IQ — led to an undefeated 9-0 season. While the Admirals each grew and developed individually over the condensed, six-week campaign, the group enjoyed a fair amount of team success.
It all started with a shutout of rival John Jay-East Fishkill, which Grafmuller said was his first shutout as Arlington’s head coach. The Admirals then defeated Section 9's Red Hook, a team that is traditionally strong and produces section champions.
Arlington went on to defeat Mahopac and won its league for the first time under Grafmuller, then finished by beating a tough Suffern squad.
“Normally you want to build for the postseason so you peak in sectionals or states, if you’re fortunate enough to get that far. We were able to build and peak for the final match against Suffern,” said Grafmuller, who was named the Dutchess/Putnam league’s coach of the year. “We set that up to be our last match and not only did we win, but every matchup you’d want to see as a wrestling fan happened. And we came out on the right side of it. We built to that point and it all worked out.”
Wrestlers grow, evolve
Nick Bronzi (132 pounds) and Jack Frustace (138) were two wrestlers Grafmuller said were “on the cusp” last year and took it to another level this season.
Bronzi lost just one match, while Frustace finished undefeated and avenged a pair of losses from last season. He pinned a Mahopac wrestler who had previously beaten him, and scored a major decision over a Suffern wrestler who had beaten him by major decision during the 20 Section 1 tournament.
Both also got a better knowledge of the intangibles.
“To see the mental side, the leadership side, the fact they put in the work because they wanted to get better and it bore itself out,” Grafmuller said. “It was nice to see.”
And, of course, there was perennial leader Tim Bova.
The 152-pound junior finished 10-0 en route to being named the Dutchess/Putnam league’s co-wrestler of the year, an honor he shared with Pawling’s Mason Watkins.
Grafmuller pointed to a pair of hard-fought matches Bova wrestled in a dual with Edgemont, and overall was pleased Bova saw some stiff competition this season.
“He’s at that level now where it’s not just about getting mat time and logging W’s. It’s about getting super meaningful mat time,” the coach said of Bova. “Not only did he go 10-0 on the year and show he is who he is, but he also got some tough matches.”
He and teammates Dillon Arrick and Jayden Rampolla also traveled to Pennsylvania and participated in the Journeyman Wrestling New York State Championships. Bova placed third, while Arrick finished sixth.
“Every match, I kept telling the kids to be careful, not to let the match before be the best match of our season — to keep working hard, keep getting better,” Grafmuller said. “Because we did keep wrestling stronger and stronger teams … Across the board, it was super enjoyable.”
A.J. Martelli: 845-437-4836, email@example.com, Twitter: @AJ_Martelli
Section 1 Dutchess/Putnam all-league team
Co-wrestlers of the year
Tim Bova, Arlington
Mason Watkins, Pawling
Dillon Arrick, Arlington
Jayden Rampolla, Arlington
Jack Frustace, Arlington
Andrew Lopane, Arlington
Tim Bova, Arlington
Max Ryan, Arlington
Nick Bronzi, Arlington
Connor Hess, Arlington
Thomas Armstrong, Arlington
Marcello Bernasconi, John Jay-East Fishkill
Eric Nunez, Roy C. Ketcham
Dylan Glickman, Roy C. Ketcham
Matt Masch, Roy C. Ketcham
Gavin McLaughlin, Roy C. Ketcham
Ernie Suter, Roy C. Ketcham
Brandon Dotterman, Roy C. Ketcham
Jaydin Montero, Roy C. Ketcham
Dominic Censullo, Roy C. Ketcham
Mason Watkins, Pawling
Luke Wrobel, Pawling
Jay Boscia, Carmel
Noah Orser, Carmel
Jackson Reyes, Carmel
Nick Greco, Mahopac
James Russo, Mahopac
Angelo Centrone, Mahopac
Chris Morris, Mahopac
Ian Sutherland, Brewster
Austin Matra, Brewster
Jacob Hamblin, Brewster
Matt Henry, Brewster
Coach of the year
Dave Grafmuller, Arlington