Top Ten Amsterdam High School Wrestlers

The Amsterdam wrestling program officially began competition during the 1965-1966 school year under the leadership of coach Pat Reilly. Only three varsity coaches have led the Wrestling Rams including Reilly (1965-1993), Ken Benton (1993-2014), and Ken Pfeiffer (2014-Present). Many outstanding associate coaches have also helped lead the way for the AHS wrestling program and the coaching continuity has made a significant difference over the years.

Anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 wrestlers have trained and competed in the “Patrick H. Reilly Gymnasium” over the last 50 years. AHS wrestling teams have dominated the former Big Ten Conference capturing 22 conference team championships as well as capturing five Section 2 Team Championships, three Runner-up Section 2 titles, and two 6th-Place finishes in the 85 team Eastern States’ Classic. Individually, the AHS wrestling program has produced three NYS champions, three NYS runner-up champions, along with 12 other state place finishers, 25 Section 2 champions, and 48 Section 2 class champions. The AHS wrestling program has been a magnificent ambassador for the Greater Amsterdam School District, the community of Amsterdam, NY, and the Greater Capital District for over 50 years.

When I asked Ken Benton to give me a list of the 10 wrestlers who won the most matches during their Wrestling Rams grappling careers he suggested there might be a better and more fairer criteria to produce a compilation of Amsterdam’s top mat men. He then worked with the members of the squad’s current and former coaching staff to produce one. He was absolutely correct. I am thrilled to include their complete Top Ten List of Amsterdam High School Wrestlers in my new book;  Fifty Amsterdam New York Top Ten Lists, which will be available in September of 2017. In today’s blog post, I preview their top three selections:

1. Brandon Lapi: Class of 2014 (138 lbs)

This phee-nom’s combination of speed, skill, power, and technique made him pretty much unbeatable. Lapi used his six years of varsity wrestling experience to hone his skills and techniques to capture a NYS-Federation title in his senior year. Brandon broke virtually every Amsterdam wrestling record and finished his career with 265 wins. He tied Brian Benton with five Section 2 Class championships, was the first 5-time Section 2 champion, the first 4-time NYS place finisher including a NYS-Federation championship and an Eastern States Classic championship.

Significant Accomplishments:

  • 2014 NYS-Federation State Champion
  • 4X NYS Place Finisher
  • 5X Section 2 Class Champion
  • 5X Section 2 Champion
  • 2014 Eastern States Classic Champion
  • 265 Career Victories
  • Scholar-Athlete (4 years)
  • DeMeo Award Winner
  • Wrestled Division 1: University of Buffalo 

2. (Tie) Giuseppi Lanzi: Class of 2010 (152 lbs)

Lanzi’s senior season on the mat was nothing less than spectacular and probably the best in the program history as he completely dominated his competition finishing the season undefeated. Lanzi’s composure, speed, strength, and agility allowed him do things on the mat that others just couldn’t do. Lanzi was Amsterdam’s first NYS-Federation champion earning Most Outstanding Wrestler (MOW) honors in both the Section 2 championships and the NYS championships.

Significant Accomplishments:

  • 2010 NYS-Federation Champion – MOW
  • 2X NYS Place Finisher
  • 3X Section 2 Class Champion
  • 2X Section 2 Champion – MOW
  • 2010 Eastern States Classic Champion
  • 250 Career Victories
  • Scholar-Athlete (4 Years)
  • 2010 Dapper Dan Champion
  • DeMeo Award Winner
  • Wrestled Division 1: Brown University

2. (Tie) Brian Benton: Class of 2008 (130 lbs)

Benton’s technical skills, speed, power, and natural instincts helped him overwhelm the vast majority of his competition. Benton earned Amsterdam’s first NYSPHSAA state championship, the program’s first Eastern States Classic Championship earning Most Outstanding Wrestler (MOW) in the process, and was the first AHS wrestler to break the 250 career victory mark.

 

Significant Accomplishments: 

  • 2008 NYS Champion (138 lbs)
  • 3X NYS Place Finisher
  • 5X Section 2 Class Champion
  • 3X Section 2 Champion
  • 2007 Eastern States Classic Champion – MOW
  • 253 Career Victories
  • Scholar-Athlete (4 Years)
  • DeMeo Award Runner-Winner
  • Wrestled Division 1: George Mason University

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