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Monti Grapplers Show Progress

By Ted Waddell
MONTICELLO — March 14, 2000 -- Ed Kaufmann has seen a lot of pins and a few needles in his 25 years coaching Monticello varsity wrestling teams.
While Monticello finished 1-5 in Orange County League (OCL) National Conference competition during the 1999-2000 grappling season, it also marked the first time since 1994 that one of his matmen claimed a league title.
In the February 19 OCL tourney at Minisink Valley, Jon Mayberg was crowned champion in the 171-pound weight class by defeating Kyle Vendeur of Cornwall 6-5 in the finals. Earlier in the season, Mayberg defeated Vendeur 7-5.
In addition to Mayberg, five other Monti wrestlers qualified for the Feb. 26 Section IX tournament at Wallkill: Kyle Fried (finished 4th at 96 lbs.), Ron Ducharme (4th at112 lbs.), Bryan Ortiz (3rd at125 lbs.), Billy Steinberg (4th at 215 lbs.) and Jorge Lee (2nd at 275 lbs.) for a combined total of 73 points.
In the Section IX tourney, Fried defeated Middletown’s Robert Pagan 7-4 in 96-pound competition, and Ortiz won his opening round 16-8 at 125-lbs. against Robert Mann of Saugerties before losing his second match.
While Kaufmann was disappointed that his matmen had only two wins (Delhi and Liberty) in dual meet competition, he called Mayberg’s OCL championship at 171-pounds, “A very nice surprise. It was a good way to finish up the week.”
At the conference meet, Monticello finished in fourth place behind Port Jervis, Minisink Valley and Cornwall.
“The season exceeded my expectations,” said Kaufmann. “I didn’t think my eighth grader and the freshmen that filled in were going to do as well as they did. It far exceeded my expectations because we only have one senior and so many young kids.
“In most of the tournaments we went to, we pretty much finished in the middle of the pack,” he added.
According to Kaufmann, he thinks next season might be a pretty good year.
“The future does look bright,” he said. Along with returning matmen Ducharme, Fried, Lee, Ortiz and Steinberg — “they’ll definitely be the leaders of the team,” Kaufmann said — he’s expecting five or six 8th-graders and a 7th-grader to move up from the modified program to varsity next year.
“The modified program has maintained its numbers,” he said. “Kyle Hoar and Frank Rupp (modified coaches) do a nice job in getting the kids interested.
“I’m looking forward to next year,” added Kaufmann. “With a little maturity, the kids should be competitive for the league championship next season. With a little luck, maybe we can get a kid up to the states.”
The Matmen
‰ Kyle Fried (96 lbs.). The eighth grader finished the season with a 20–8 record. Fried placed in six tournaments.
‰ Oscar Rodriguez (103 lbs.), The freshman had a 6–14 record this season. “He did well this year. He’s really a jayvee (wrestler) that we put in there at 103.”
‰ Ron Ducharme (112 lbs.). As a ninth grader, had a 11–14 record for the year. “Qualified for the sectionals which is quite an accomplishment. Is going to be a very good wrestler in the future.”
‰ Bryan Ortiz (125 lbs.). The freshman led his team with a 23–13 record. Placed in four out of five tournaments. “A great deal of promise.”
‰ Jon Mayberg (171 lbs.). The senior finished the season with a 21–11 record, and racked up a high school varsity record of 29-17. Placed in five tourneys this year. OCL champion in his weight class. “Improved a lot this year.”
‰ Billy Steinberg (215 lbs.). The sophomore had a 8–16 season. “Did a nice job, mostly against upper classmen. He’ll be back the next two years.”
‰ Jorge Lee (275 lbs.). As a junior, Lee took second place in his weight class at the OCL tourney, placed in three out of five tourneys with a 9–10 record for the season. “Has wrestled for me since he was an eighth grader.”

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