By Ted Waddell
MONTICELLO January 25, 2008 This year, in the words of Coach Ed Kaufmann, who is in his 27th year of guiding the Monticello Panthers wrestling team, the squad has “two polished grapplers,” a trio of “fairly decent sophomores” and several works in progress filling in the roster.
Last year, the Panthers posted a 7-5 dual meet record.
Lost to graduation from that 2006-2007 team were five grapplers: Alexis Bruno, Jesse Campanaro, Andre Diaz, Andrew Moss and Rodney Stickle.
Seniors on the 2007-2008 squad are Arthur Atanov, John Bowens (captain), Vinny Brugaletta (captain), Nefthaly Leon and Cory Waichman.
According to Kaufmann, his top wrestlers are Brugaletta, who competes in the 140-pound weight class and finished third in last year’s Section IX tournament, and Bowens, who wrestles in the 135-pound weight class and placed sixth in last year’s Section IX tournament.
“The other guys, with the exception of Brugaletta, Bowens and Waichman, haven’t wrestled before on a varsity level,” Kaufmann said. “They’re feeling their way along, they’re not polished wrestlers.”
“I’ve got three fairly decent sophomores,” he added. “They are doing a nice job, but they’re still learning.”
Those three sophomores are Jesse Levine, who is filling in at the 135-pound division, Kyle Bennett and Anthony D’Abbraccio, who placed third at a recent upstate tourney.
“Brian Tadalvi, a freshman, is doing a nice job in the 96-pound class,” Kaufmann said.
At the Sidney Tournament in December, Monticello scored 94 points, placing in the middle of the 12-team pack.
Brugaletta, Bowens, D’Abbraccio and Waichman earned individual honors in their respective weight classes at the Sidney Tournament.
Brugaletta placed second, D’Abbraccio took third, Waichman placed fourth and Bowens was fifth.
Kaufmann’s take on the 2007-2008 season?
“Right now, I think the team is progressing well,” he said. “We’re starting to come together as a team, and the guys are starting to feel comfortable with who is actually the starting team, and who are the guys who are the backups.
“The 18 or 19 kids who I have coming into the [wrestling] room every day are working hard, and my expectation is to finish second in the league,” he added, noting that Cornwall “is the team to beat in our division.”