Upstate New York Chapter January 2024 Newsletter

The Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame's Induction and Awards banquet will be held on Sunday, September 29th, 2024, in Syracuse, NY.

Romagnoli Honored by New York State Senate

On January 9th, 2024, the New York State Senate issued Jack Romagnoli a New York Senate Resolution recognizing Jack as the 2023 Outstanding American Award recipient for the Upstate New York Chapter of the NWHOF. Senator Joseph Griffo of the 53rd Senate District of New York acknowledged Jack’s dedication and life work of promoting high school wrestling in the state. Senator Griffo stated that Jack exemplifies all of the principal missions of the National Wresting Hall of Fame.

Mr. Romagnoli has been an excellent wrestler and coach and has a keen insight into the importance of preserving the history of wrestling in the state; he has served as a model and inspiration to all future generations of wrestlers. The Upstate Chapter is extremely proud of Jack and thanks Senator Griffo and the rest of the NYS Senate for recognizing him and his service to New York State wrestling and the community at large.

Norman Foster Honored by Amherst Central High School

1999 Upstate New York Chapter Lifetime Service to Wrestling honoree, the late Norman Foster, was honored by Amherst Central HS on Jan. 27th as the program that Mr. Foster once coached named their annual junior varsity tournament in his honor. Norman coached the Tigers during his twenty-six year teaching career as well as the Iroquois Chiefs in the preceding ten years. Among many other distinctions, Mr. Foster was a graduate of Cortland State Teachers College, a United State Marine and World War II veteran, and a leader in the western New York wrestling community.

Current Amherst High School head wrestling coach Dennis Bauer said that the program decided to name the annual tournament in memory of Mr. Foster "...after a coach that lived a successful life focused on service to God, country, family, and the wrestling community."

Norman passed away on November 14th, 2023. On Tuesday, January 30th, Amherst claimed the team's first Erie County Interscholastic Conference (ECIC) divisional dual meet title since the 1999-2000 season.

Upstate Chapter's Servidone Achieves 400th Win

Although the milestone was achieved in December, the Upstate New York Chapter of the NWHOF wishes to congratulate Columbia High School's (Section II) head wrestling coach Anthony Servidone for achieving 400 career coaching victories! Coach Servidone received the Chapter's Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award in 2019 and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Upstate NY Chapter. Congratulations, Coach!

2nd NYSPHSAA Girls' Wrestling Invitational

On Friday, January 26th, 208 wrestlers representing public schools across the eleven New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) districts converged on the campus of Onondaga Community College in Syracuse to compete in the 2nd NYSPHSAA Girls' Wrestling Invitational. Over 1300 girls certified to wrestle at the varsity and junior varsity levels in New York State in the 2023-2024 season, and 700 submitted applications for invitation to the second edition of the NYSPHSAA sanctioned event.

The tournament started with the parade of participants and each section marched to the mats carrying their regions' banner. Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director, stated, “This is an exciting time for us as we host the second formal event for only girl wrestlers to compete in a state wide invitational tournament.”

At this time, girls' wrestling is considered an emerging sport. New York State girls' high school wrestling expects fully sanctioned status in the coming year with a true state championship tournament to be contested at the end of the 2024-2025 season.

The tournament provided everyone with plenty of excitement and the best girls wrestling in the state. All the girls who took part in the action were winners in the eyes of all the advocates and fans of girls wrestling.

6th NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Wrestling Championships Results

On Saturday, January 27th, twenty-four teams converged on Onondaga County Community College for the annual boys' dual meet state championships.

In the Division I large school field, Section VIII's (Nassau County) Plainedge High School defeated perennial powerhouse Minisink Valley (Section IX), 40-26, in the title match to claim the program's first New York State dual team championship. Plainedge went 4-0 on the day including a semifinal win over in-section rival Wantagh, 30-29, and opening round wins over Section II (Albany/Capital region) champion Saratoga Springs, 43-18, and Section IV champion Horseheads, 53-15.

In the small school tournament, Section IV (Binghamton region) powerhouse Tioga won its third consecutive NYS Division II team title with a convincing win over Section XI's (Suffolk County) John Glenn HS, 56-12, in the title match. Tioga also defeated Section V (Rochester region) champion Palmyra-Macedon, 51-24, in the semifinal as well as Section II champion Cobleskill-Richmondville, 51-15, and Section VIII's Island Trees HS, 78-0, in their pool matches.

Congratulations to Plainedge HS and Tioga HS for their New York State championships and to the other twenty-teams who represented their schools and regions in Syracuse.

Wrestling Returns to Buffalo Public Schools

For the first time since the early 1960's, organized wrestling is back in the Buffalo city public school district. The newly formed team certified nearly forty wrestlers for the team's inaugural season and practices and competes at the historic Lafayette International High School in the city's Upper West Side. Lafayette/BPS earned the program's first ever varsity dual win on Dec. 13th and finished this season with a 3-5 dual meet record wrestling an independent schedule.

In an interview, BPS Athletic Director Aubrey Lloyd stated “We are super excited to have our inaugural season here at historic Lafayette International High School…this is amazing. This is history in the making here. We have thirty eight kids from fourteen of our high schools on the team…this has exceeded our expectations. This season has been in the making for about ten years. We are grateful to the Board of Education and to our superintendent for allowing us to have this wonderful opportunity."

For more information on Buffalo Public Schools wrestling please visit the link below:

Records indicate that Burgard High School hosted a wrestling club in the early part of the 1960's coached by Mr. Robert Guariglia and that high school age boys representing a number of the city's high schools wrestled in events organized outside of the schools as far back as 1912. Anyone with more information about high school wrestling history in City of Buffalo is encouraged to reach out to the Upstate NY Chapter.

UB Bulls Earn Impressive Road Win Over Defending Conference Champs

The State University of New York at Buffalo Bulls traveled to a hostile Thomas Fieldhouse in Lock Haven, PA for a Mid-American Conference (MAC) showdown with the two-time defending conference champion Bald Eagles on Friday, Jan. 19th. The Bulls overcame a 12-4 deficit after the first four matches of the dual to win the last six in a row for a 23-12 victory. Intermat's #32 nationally ranked 197-pound wrestler, junior Sam Mitchell, sealed the win for Buffalo with one match remaining by earning a major decision at 197. Seven total Bulls earned wins for head coach John Stutzman against Lock Haven where Mitchell and true freshman Max Elton at 125-pounds earned critical team bonus points. The Bulls ended January with a 3-1 record in MAC duals with four conference duals left on the 2023-2024 schedule.

Upstate NY Chapter honoree Jack Romagnoli
Upstate NY Chapter honoree and Columbia High School head wrestling coach Anthony Servidone

Our Mission: To honor the sport of wrestling by preserving its history, recognizing extraordinary individual achievements, and inspiring future generations