One of the aspects of wrestling that makes it a great sport is that athletes get the chance to decide who is the best on the mat. But it takes a while to get there.
Journalist Max Schwartz from Norwalk, Conn., isn’t going to wait until the New England championships in March. He has compiled his rankings of the top 10 wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes based on head-to-head competition, placements in tournaments and past accolades, including last spring’s 2021 Spartan New England tournament that was held last March in New Hampshire.
Max wrestled at Norwalk High and is now a sports journalist, specializing in wrestling. Previously, he published a piece with FloWrestling about the growth of the sport in New England and currently writes for the FancoWrestling.com.
Max plans to distribute new rankings every two weeks with the next rankings coming out the week of February 6.
If you have questions, updates or suggestions for Max regarding his rankings, please email him at [email protected]
Max Schwartz: New England individual rankings
At No. 1 is James Tildsley from Shawsheen Tech, who was third at the Spartan New England at 98 pounds. Tildsley had a dominant performance at the George Bossi Lowell Holiday Classic, winning the tournament with six pins and allowing just one point (escape). A real threat could be No. 5 Jared Hood, the Rhode Island native who made it to the finals of the John D. Gorman tournament in Cumberland, R.I., earlier in the month, but unfortunately medically defaulted out the finals to No. 4 Ryan Conlan of LaSalle.
|2||Scotty Moreau||Fr.||Lowell Catholic||MA|
|4||Ryan Conlan||Jr.||La Salle||RI|
|10||Seth McGrew||Fr.||Bishop Hendricken||RI|
Come March, the New England gymnasium will be rocking with every 113 pound match – the weight is just that good. Isiac Paulo, a senior from Monty Tech, is ranked No. 1 and he is coming off a sixth place finish at the 2020 New England championships and a win at the Spartan New England tournament last spring. No. 2 Jackson Heslin should be fun to watch for the next few years. Before he began his freshman season at Xavier in Middletown, he represented the United States in Greco-Roman and freestyle at the 15U Pan-Am Games in Mexico.
Coming in at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, are Coventry’s (RI) Peyton Ellis, who placed fourth at 106 in last year’s Spartan New England, and Alex Schabaleuin from St. Johns Prep in Danvers, MA. who was the runner up in the 98 pound division at the Spartan tournament.
|1||Isiac Paulino||Sr.||Monty Tech||MA|
|4||Alex Schaeublin||So.||St. John’s Prep||MA|
|7||Miles Darling||So.||Essex Tech||MA|
The top two wrestlers at 120 are something special. Jacob Joyce a sophomore from Ponaganset High in Rhode Island has been ranked as high as No. 15 in FloWrestling’s national rankings this season. Now, he finds himself sitting outside them. However, the sophomore recently placed third at the very prestigious Escape the Rock tournament held at Council Rock South High School in Holland, PA. Matthew Botello of Hingham, Mass., sits at No. 2 in New England. He is current ranked No. 13 in Flo’s national high school rankings.
Others that look to potentially make some noise this year are two Connecticut grapplers: William Hamilton from Bristol Central and Ben Zuckerman from Fairfield Warde. Both Zuckerman’s older brothers were New England place winners for Warde.
|3||William Hamilton||Jr.||Bristol Central||CT|
|4||Ben Zuckerman||So.||Fairfield Warde||CT|
|5||Michael Ziniti||Jr.||Pinkerton Academy||NH|
|10||John Schneider||So.||Brian McMahon||CT|
Tyler Knox of St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Mass., headlines this weight class. Knox, who has committed to wrestle at Stanford, looks to win his first New England championship in March. He was first at 113 in last spring’s Spartan New England tournament. Prior to wrestling for St. John’s Prep, Knox competed for Northfield Mt. Hermon, a prep school in Northfield, Mass., and finished seventh at the Prep School national championships in 2020.
No. 2 Evan Linder, a senior from New Milford, Connecticut looks to find his second New England medal after placing fifth in 2020. No. 3 Hayden Meyers (Coventry RI), No. 4 Jonah Paulino (Monty Tech, MA) and No. 5 Anthony Balisle (Xavier) round out the top 5.
|1||Tyler Knox||Jr.||St. John’s Prep||MA|
|2||Evan Linder||Sr.||New Milford||CT|
|4||Jonah Paulino||So.||Monty Tech||MA|
Shawsheen Tech wrestler Sid Tildsley holds the top spot here after winning at the George Bossi Lowell Holiday tournament and taking fourth at 126 in the Spartan New England tournament last march. Behind him sits Jason Hood of Ponagansett (RI), who posted a great 3-2 record at last year’s Super 32.
No. 3 Adam Schaeublin from St. John’s Prep, finished second behind Tildsley at the Lowell tournament, qualified for New England tournament back in 2020 and placed fifth at the Spartan New England. Austin Montiero of Minnechaug, Mass., sits in the No. 4 spot after coming in third at Lowell where he beat No. 8 Cael Finn of Simsbury in the bronze medal match.
|1||Sid Tildsley||Fr.||Shawsheen Tech||MA|
|3||Adam Schaeublin||So.||St. John’s Prep||MA|
|7||Cody Bryant||Sr.||North Providence||RI|
|9||Jack De Sena||So.||Hingham||MA|
This weight is a deep one with the top three wrestlers each having a great chance to win the New England championship. No. 1 Kai O’Dell (Danbury) and No. 2 Gabriel Bouyssou (Scituate, RI) met in the finals of last year’s Spartan tournament in a very deep 126 pound weight class where O’Dell earned a 12-5 victory. No. 3 Ty Stewart (Dracut, MA) and No. 4 Jimmy Glynn (Central Catholic, MA) met in the finals of Lowell tournament with Stewart coming away with a 9-3 victory. No. 5 Dylan Levesque of Xavier is also a threat. The senior came in sixth at 126 at last year’s Spartan meet.
|4||Jimmy Glynn||Jr.||Central Catholic||MA|
|7||Jaekez Mendez||Fr.||East Hartford||CT|
|9||Timmy Perkins||Sr.||Bonny Eagle||ME|
Simsbury’s John Mairano is on a mission this winter. He won at the George Bossi Lowell Holiday tournament with a win over No. 2 Mark Botello of Hingham, Mass., who has won the Spartan New England tournament at 132 last March and has committed to attend Cornell.
No. 3 Brent Nicolosi (Haverhill, MA), No. 4 Maurice Cooper (Hope, RI), and Andrew Reall (Ponagansett, RI) round out the top five. Nicholosi was third in Lowell with Cooper taking fourth. Reall had a good showing at the Escape The Rock tournament.
|8||Maximus Piel||Sr.||New Milford||CT|
Rawson Iwanicki, the No. 1 ranked wrestler from St. John’s Prep is a beast. The senior won two matches at last fall’s Super 32 tournament and was third at last year’s Spartan New England tournament. Iwanicki won the Lowell tournament with a pin of No. 2 Zachary Johns of Simsbury in the finals. The two faced off again when SJP met Simsbury for a dual meet. It was much closer this time with Iwanicki coming away 6-4.
Fairfield Warde’s Lucas Coleman sits at No. 3. He advanced to the semifinals – losing 8-2 to Iwanicki — at the Lowell tournament before getting hurt and defaulting to sixth place. Greg Deeley (Wayland, MA) sits at No. 4 since placing third at Lowell, while Danbury’s Logan Kovacs stands at No. 5.
|1||Rawson Iwanacki||Sr.||St. John’s Prep||MA|
|3||Lucas Coleman||Jr||Fairvield Warde||CT|
Xaverian’s Michael Bobola is the clear-cut favorite and No. 1 ranked wrestler at 160 pounds. The senior dominated at the George Bossi Lowell Holiday tournament with five pins. He gave up just two points in six victories.
Challenging Bobola could be No. 2 Rafael Knapp (Algonquin, MA) who dropped a 5-0 decision to Bobola in Lowell championship match. No. 3 Josh Nieroda (Suffield/Windsor Locks) also looks to be in the running, as is No. 4 Anthony Rousseau of Timberlane, N.H.
|10||Nate Blanchette||So.||Central Catholic||MA|
When talking about New England wrestling, it’s hard not to mention Fairfield Warde’s Will Ebert. The senior is committed to Binghamton and placed fifth at Super 32.
No. 2 is Jack MacKiernan of New Hampshire’s Pinkerton Academy, who dropped a 6-2 decision to Ebert in the finals of George Bossi Lowell Holiday tournament. MacKiernan beat Ebert 6-4 in last year’s Spartan tournament, where MacKiernan finished second at 160 pounds. Spencer Fine of Bishop Hendricken RI sits at No. 3. The sophomore from Rhode Island is looking to carry on the family legacy. His older brother Nick FIne, now Columbia University wrestler, was a Spartan New England tournament winner last spring.
|1||William Ebert||Sr.||Fairfield Warde||CT|
|2||Jack MacKiernan||Sr.||Pinkerton Academy||NH|
|3||Spencer Fine||So.||Bishop Hendricken||RI|
|4||Desmond McLaughlin||Sr.||Springfield Central||MA|
|5||Aidan Zarella||Sr.||North Kingstown||RI|
|9||Xaiver Quilles||Sr.||East Hartford||CT|
Leading the pack at 182 pounds is junior Josh Cordio from Nashoba Valley in Massachusetts, who is currently ranked No. 19 in the nation by FloWrestling. Behind him are No. 2 Bryce Parker (Timberlane, NH) and No. 3 Aaron Johnson (Mt. Anthony, VT). The two wrestlers from powerhouse programs met in the finals at Lowell with Parker earning a 5-1 victory.
At No. 4 is Maine’s Issac Heiner of Mattanawcook/Lee, who won the Noble Invitational with three pins — wrestling a total of three minutes and four seconds in the tournament. No. 5 Dominic Iaqunito (Danbury) is only a sophomore but keep him on your radar for the next couple of years.
|3||Aaron Johnson||Sr.||Mount Anthony Union||VT|
Standing firm in the No. 1 spot is Norwalk’s Brendan Gilchrist, who was second at the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) nationals last May and recently won the George Bossi Lowell Holiday tournament. At No. 2 is Guilford’s Chris Murphy with Sean Wakefield (Massabesic, ME) at No. 3. Wakefield outscored his opponents 22-4 at the Noble Invitational in only five total minutes on the mat.
Behind Wakefield sits Kody Rasheed (Concord, NH), who placed sixth at Spartan New England tournament, and Dom Pallaria (Timberlane, NH), who finished behind Gilchrist at Lowell.
|8||Luke Mead||Sr.||Bishop Hendriken||RI|
|9||Zachary Raymond||Sr,||North Providence||RI|
Timberlane’s Cooper Kelley is the No. 1 ranked wrestled at 220 pounds. The New Hampshire senior dropped a 6-5 decision to No. 4 Timmy Vardanis, in the finals of George Bossi Lowell tournament. Nevertheless, Kelley most recently won the Timberlane Invitational while Vardanis came in fourth at the Colter Abley Mid-Season Classic at Xavier in Connecticut.
Coming in at No. 2 is Xavier’s Thomas Lunt. The senior came in fifth at War at the Shore in Delaware. Another Connecticut wrestler comes in at No. 3 Lucas Cylwik from Trumbull. Don’t count out No. 5 Hampton Kaye-Kuter (Milford, MA), No. 6 Michael Jarell (East Greenwich RI), and No. 7 Nick Agueri (Staples) from shaking it up.
|6||Michael Jarrell||Sr.||East Greenwich||RI|
|8||Will Murphy||Sr.||Champlain Vally||VT|
When it comes to the big boys. there are two very clear giants standing above the rest. Adolfo Betancur of Bishop Hendricken in Rhode Island and Matt Weiner of Shelton. Both of these men are warriors but Betancur gets the No. 1 ranking because he is ranked No. 18 in the country by FloWrestling. Mt. Hope’s Atley Jenness slides into No. 3. Chelmsford’s Thomas Brown pops in as No. 4 with a pin in the finals of George Bossi Lowell Holiday tournament over No. 5 Hunter Jeffers of Concord, N.H.
|1||Adolfo Betancur||Sr.||Bishop Hendricken||RI|
|3||Atley Jenness||Sr.||Mt. Hope||RI|
Using a formula that accounts for tournament placement points and that only uses wrestlers ranked in the top 10 Max has calculated a potential top 10 team race for the New England championship.
On top with the No. 1 spot are the Eagles out of Saint John’s Prep (MA). Only having four ranked wrestlers, two of those are ranked first and the others are in the top four. Only a point behind is No. 2 Xavier (CT). The Falcons show depth with eight wrestlers ranked. No. 3 Timberlane comes in third a mere two points behind St. John’s Prep.
Ponagansett (RI) is No. 4 with Jacob Joyce leading the pack at 120 pounds. Simsbury (CT) slides into the fifth spot with four wrestlers ranked a pair in the top two in their weight classes. Usual New England powerhouse Danbury (CT) finds itself in unfamiliar territory at No. 6 with four wrestlers ranked, including No. 1 Kai. O’Dell (138). Coming in at No. 7 is the last Connecticut school in the top 10, Fairfield Warde. The Mustangs come in with three top 10 wrestlers, including the No. 1 Will Ebert (170).
In the No. 8 spot is Coventry, R.I. They come in with five wrestlers ranked and none lower than ninth. At No. 9 is Rhode Island’s Bishop Hendricken with four ranked wrestlers, including nationally ranked heavyweight Adolfo Betancur. Rounding out top 10 is Hingham (MA) with three wrestlers ranked in the top 10 with two of them being No. 1 Matthew Botello and No. 2 Mark Botello.
|Rank||School||State||Top 10 ranked||Points|
|1||St. John’s Prep||MA||4||90|