Hauppauge, John Glenn, Longwood & Rocky Point lead the list of potential D1 champs.
The 2008-2009 Suffolk high school wrestling season should be one of the most fiercely competitively balanced in years with Hauppauge, John Glenn, Longwood and Rocky Point all realistically in the hunt for the county title. Don’t completely count out a few other teams though, since Huntington, Brentwood, Connetquot and Islip all have wrestlers who should factor into county tournament team points come tournament time. As usual many outstanding individuals return for Suffolk including many from the top teams mentioned above.
County Team Title Contenders: the top 4
Hauppauge returners are state champion Ken Collado (103) and county place winners Adam Lepkowsky (6th at 96) and Scott Munro (5th at 285). Also returning for Hauppauge are ranked wrestlers Nick Mauriello (96), Jesse Marro (140), Kevin Panebianco (145) and Eric Wooley (215). This talented group of wrestlers and an experienced county contender coaching staff could be the formula for a Hauppauge county title.
A talented young team surfaced a couple of years ago and that team just keeps on getting better. John Glenn will challenge for a county title this year by returning state place winner Nick Meinsen (112) and returning county place winners Nick Terdick 3rd (125), Tyler Sinisgalli (119) and Matt Fusarro (125) both 5th in Suffolk last year. Glenn also returns four quality competitors in county qualifiers Matt Gannon (119), Chris Carlucci (160) and Alex Rosenberg (171) as well as Joe Giaramita (4th in league 6 at 152). This is certainly a team that could pile up enough county place winner points to win a Suffolk title this tear.
Longwood returns 3 all county wrestlers in county finalist Ernest James (215), William Parks (4th at 171) and Nicky Hall (5th at 103). In addition Casey Brice (119) Mike Sweeney (125), Pat Jennings (130) and Ben Lee (returning county qualifier at 285) broke into pre-season county rankings seen on Long Island wrestling web sites. Malik Rasheed is a returning league champ. Longwood is the real deal and is one of 4 teams that top the Suffolk County team title pre-season lists.
If Hauppauge, Glenn or Longwood do not win a county title then you may not need to look any further than a talented Rocky Point team. Coach Goldstein will have his team ready come county time. Rocky Point returns state place winners Stephen Dutton (3rd at 130) and Matt Ross (5th at 96). Anthony Volpe, 3rd in Suffolk at 135Lbs. and Billy Coggins, 5th in Suffolk at 145Lbs, also return. Add to that list returning county ranked wrestlers Mike Lopez (2nd in the league at 130) and Jerry Ceccio (league champ at 140) and you have six big point scorers come county tournament time.
Top Teams 5-7
Connetquot has shown improvement over the past several seasons and returns a well-balanced team that should have a strong county tournament. Two county place winners return for the Thunderbirds, Sean McCabe (3rd at 96) and James Corsitto (6th at 125). In addition, James McCabe (112) and James Cameron (125) cracked the pre-season rankings. Both were all county wrestlers two seasons ago. Talented sophomore Nick LoBue (3rd in league 2 at 152) is also now ranked in Suffolk County. Connor Gribbin (119) and Joe Pellegrino (189) are both returning league champs.
A wrestling season in Suffolk without Huntington in the mix for a county title will not happen this year. Damon McQueen (3rd in NY State at 96 pounds) and Nigel McNeil (4th in Suffolk at 103) lead the Blue Devils into the 2008-2009 season. In addition Huntington boasts county pre-season ranked wrestler Louis Puca at 145. Will the Blue Devils be able to contend in the first year without legendary coach Lou Giani at the helm? I would look for a strong top 10 finish.
What does Brentwood have in store for us in 2008-2009. A core of talented wrestlers graduated, but Brentwood will be a factor in 2008-2009. Josue Mendez (171) is a returning 6th in NY State and Alex Gomez (112) was 4th in Suffolk County last year.
Rounding Out the Top Ten Possibilities
What teams will round out the top ten in the Suffolk County tournament by taking the 8, 9 and 10 spots? Islip returns Kyle Wade, 3rd in Suffolk at 130 last year. Cody Hinrichs (215), Jawad Azam (171) and Matt Egan (160) all cracked the 2008-2009 pre-season rankings. Another League 5 team Harborfields also boasts pre-season county ranked wrestlers Andrew Colamussi (130), Kyle Delmuro (171) and Bill Reitz (189). Sachem East has Dan O’Malley (119) and Sean O’Malley (135). Shoreham Wading River boasts returning state 3rd place winners TJ Niedhart (145) and Steven Keith (112). East Islip has Nick Ventire at 130 and returns many starters from a young team last year. Central Islip returns County Champ Andy Rodriguez (140) along with Allen Gomez (112). Whitman returns County runner-up Adam Troy (130) along with Vin Punzone (112). Deer Park has the Lugo brothers Damien at 96 pounds and Rich who was 6th in Suffolk at 140 last year. West Babylon returns county place winner Marvin Titus Cassius at 189 and John Wilkerson looks like a contender at 285. Sayville returns Travis Pitre at 140 (2nd in Suffolk 2 seasons ago), TJ Slevin (119) and Josef Haas (135).
League Outlook and Predictions
Suffolk League 1
Brentwood and Longwood should battle it out for the dual and league tourney title this season. Sachem East and an improving William Floyd team will be the two teams that slide behind Brentwood and Longwood.
The dual you should not miss: Brentwood – Longwood
The pick: Longwood unseats Brentwood as League 1 dual meet and tournament champion.
Suffolk League 2
Connetquot appears to be the team to beat in this league with Commack and Whitman as possible runner-ups.
The dual you should not miss: Connetquot – Commack
The pick: Connetquot should win the dual meet championship and repeat as league tournament champ.
Suffolk League 3
League 3 may be the most wide open league in Suffolk this year and the toughest league to call. Copaigue continues to improve. Smithtown East, Hills East and North Babylon will also compete. West Islip may have lost too much to compete for a league title this year. East Islip may be underestimated this year and could be the dark horse to win a league title.
The dual with league champ implications: East Islip – Hills East
The pick: East Islip wins the dual championship but Hills East claims the tournament title.
Suffolk League 4
Deer Park and West Babylon appear primed to battle it out for league title honors this season with Smithtown West and Riverhead looking to improve with experience.
The dual that should crown the league championship: Deer Park – West Babylon
The pick: Deer Park wins the dual and tournament titles in league 4 this season.
Suffolk League 5
Perhaps the most competitive league in New York State – no exaggeration. Harborfields will be improved with many returners. Huntington remains very tough and will be very competitive in its first year without Lou Giani officially as head coach. Islip and Sayville may not have the depth to compete with the upper echelon of this league but they will each produce a quality season. Rising to the top of this league are Rocky Point and Hauppauge.
The dual you should not miss: Rocky Point – Hauppauge
The pick: Hauppauge edges Rocky Point for the dual meet title and Rocky Point goes on to win the league tournament. Both teams finish top 5 in the Suffolk County tournament.
Huntington finishes top 10.
Suffolk League 6
John Glenn is the class of this league with Shoreham Wading River, Mount Sinai, Westhampton and Miller Place in the mix for second place.
The dual to watch: John Glenn – Mount Sinai
The pick: John Glenn wins the dual meet and tournament titles in League 6 and finishes top 5 in Suffolk.