October 16, 2012—This past weekend, six natives of the Gotham City wrestling scene were successful in winning their weight classes at the annual Lions’ Club Wrestling Challenge, hosted by Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island. The titlists, Chris Martorello, Santo Curatolo, Konstantin Parfiyev, Roland Zilberman, Rich Sisti, and Mark Ifraimov combined to bring glory and honor to 3/5 of the boroughs, with Brooklyn winning ultimate bragging rights with three champions, Staten Island winning a pair of titles, and the Bronx crowning a lone gold medalist.
Getting Gotham started on a high note was 99-pounder, Martorello, from Fordham Prep. Training now at Vougar Honors Wrestling Club on Long Island, the difference in the performance of the Ram sophomore from one year to the next has been remarkable. Finishing fourth in 2012 at the Catholic State tournament, Martorello, who figures to be among the favorites in the sectional qualifier this season, has been a buzzsaw this off-season, adding this past Sunday’s title to the runner-up finish he posted at the Summer Heat Tournament back in August. Going 3-0 on the day after receiving a bye in the first round, the super sophomore would defeat Brentwood’s Horatio “JT” Burrowes in the quarterfinals by a score of 9-2. He would record an identical score in the semis against the 2012 PSAL bronze medalist, Malik Grant of Curtis. Martorello’s run to the title would be completed when he received a forfeit in the finals.
3x PSAL Champion/NYS qualifier, Curatolo of Tottenville showed why many consider him a lock to not only pick up a fourth City crown, but also to make the podium in Albany in 2013 when he cruised to the 120-pound title. A winner of four matches on the day (three coming by way of pin), Curatolo made a strong case for unofficial Outstanding Wrestling honors, beating a pair of NJ kids in the first round and the semis, and disposing of two of Long Island’s finest young talent in his other two bouts. In the finals, Curatolo would get the best of 2012 Nassau County placewinner/NHSCA Freshman All-American, Kyle Quinn from Wantagh, in his only match of the day to go the full duration.
Next up, competing at the 160-pound weight class, James Madison’s Parfiyev would go all the way, compiling a 3-0 record en route to the hardware. A two-time PSAL Large School placewinner, Parfiyev enters his junior season as the #2 ranked 152-pounder in the GCW preseason poll. Having improved his spot on the podium in each of his first two years competing on the scholastic level (4th in 2011; 3rd in 2012), this weekend’s effort is proof that when he is at the top of his game, he is a huge threat to punch his own ticket to the state tournament. Parfiyev’s title came via a 5-2 decision over Andrew Gray of West Islip.
Joining Parfiyev in winning a title on behalf of Madison was big man, Ifraimov, who won in two straight in a best-of-3 series against Josua Ritchey to claim the top prize at 285 pounds. Ranked 5th in the City coming into the 2013 season, Ifraimov just missed the medal stand last, finishing one victory short of a top-4 finish as a sophomore. Now a year older and more polished, he will be called upon to make some noise in a deep heavyweight class that includes teammate, Kujtim Nikq. Ifraimov’s wins 48 hours ago was almost mirror images of each other as he pinned Ritchey in the first match at the 2:57 mark, and the proceeded to beat that time by a single second in bout #2.
Securing the third and final title for Brooklyn was Lincoln’s Zilberman. A two-time All-City honoree heading into his final year of eligibility, Zilberman finished fourth in both his sophomore and junior seasons, cutting from 215 in 2011 to the 195 class last season. Now facing his last opportunity to make it to the Yimes Union Center, the Lincoln student-athlete seems intent on making the most of his senior start, starting last weekend…A recipient of a bye in the opening round, Zilberman opened a lot of eyes when he pinned Garden Stater (NJ), Jeff Velez of Kenliworth in the semifinals. Velez was fresh off of a victory over 2012 Catholic State Champion/NYS DI qualifier, Matt Roberts of the host school, who bumped up from his normal 182-pound weight class to seek out the best level of competition…One match later, Zilberman would put the finishing touches on a championship effort, taking home the gold behind a 4-2 victory over Tal Granot of Hauppauge (Suffolk County).
Rounding out the list of champions with ties to Gotham City was Sisti, the junior from Monsignor Farrell who has been on a tear this off-season. A Catholic State titlist last season, Sisti would go 1-2 in Albany as sophomore at 195-pounders. Since making the move up to 220, he has been unstoppable, winning the Journeymen Challenge, the Steeplechase Open, and now his school’s event…Regarded as one of the top juniors in NYS, many in the know say that Sisti might be the surest thing the CHSAA has in regards to finishing top-6 in the state capital…In his first match of the day, Sisti would control Brooklyn Tech’s Kevin Tynes, getting the best of returning PSAL Large School runner-up to the tune of a 6-3 decision. Sisti would receive a win by forfeit in his second match when Iron Horse Wrestling Club (NJ) member, Christian Colucci, was forced to pull out of the round robin for unknown reasons. Now 2-0, Sisti would clinch the gold with a 5-0 decision in his final bout of the day over Joe Marcantonio of the Ascend Wrestling Club//Calhoun High School. The “w” was the second in the past few weeks for Sisti over Marantonio, as the Lion stud also pinned him at the aforementioned Journeymen Challenge on September 30th.
Other non-Gotham City champions included the following:
106- Jesse DellaVecchia (East Islip/631 Elite Wrestling Club)
113- Salvatore Cipolla (East Islip)
126- Mike D’Angelo (Commack/Ascend Wrestling Club)
132- Justin Cochran (Paramus/Apex Wrestling Club)
138- TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading-River/XCel Wrestling Club)
145- CJ Labate (Commack)
152- Richard Luxmore (Bellmore-JFK/Ascend Wrestling Club)
170- Andrew Voelker (Monroe Woodbury/Apex Wrestling Club)
182- Christian Araneo (Ward Melville/Razor Wrestling Club)