When they last met in a dual meet on December 17, 2008, Wantagh defeated MacArthur by the score of 31-25. Since then, both teams have gone on to have very successful seasons with Wantagh winning the Section VIII class B dual meet championships and MacArthur winning the class A championships.
MacArthur has dominated the Section VIII individual championships winning 7 team titles in the last 8 years. Wantagh, an emerging Section VIII powerhouse, is looking to dethrone the reigning Section VIII team champions with a strong team that earned 2nd in team points at 2008’s State Wrestling Championships.
Wantagh brings to the tournament 20 individual qualifiers, 2 short of the 22 individual qualifiers that MacArthur brings to the tournament. Wantagh has 5 number one seeded wrestlers while MacArthur has 3 number one seeded wrestlers seemingly giving Wantagh the edge.
While upsets are always possible, Wantagh brings to the tournament 2 all state wrestlers : Paul Ligouri, John Greisheimer, aka “The Hammer,” and one Sophomore national champion, Matt Loew. MacArthur brings one state caliber wrestler in Sean Kempf, who earlier in the season defeated State Champion Ken Collado after having won an impressive championship at the Eastern States.
With the strength of their top wrestlers, Wantagh has the clear advantage, but MacArthur’s strength is in the depth of their team. MacArthur will look to have 2 all county wrestlers at many weights possibly neutralizing Wantagh’s potential edge with champions. At 96lbs MacArthur is looking to have all county honors in Thomas Manning (No. 1 seed) and Kevin Herold. At 103lbs they are looking to Alex Grant (No. 2 seed) and Chris Perez, at 112lbs Sean Kempf (No. 1 seed) and Anthony Locke, at 119 Mike Lazarus and Mike Palermo, at 145lbs Brian Herold (No. 1 seed) and Tyler Dunne, and at 160 Brandon Mulholland and Chris Piperno.
There are two key weights where the outcome isn’t so certain. The winner of those weight classes can help to secure the team title for their team. At 96lbs Joe Barbato (Wan) the number two seed will challenge the number one seed Thomas Manning (Mac), and at 130lbs Ariel Guerrero(Mac) the number 2 seed will challenge the number one seed Nick Fitzmaurice (Wan). If either team is able to win both those weights, it will go a long way towards hammering home a team title.
For this writer this one is too close to call. I won’t even attempt. This will no doubt be an exciting weekend of wrestling.
Potential Key Bouts Today
96lbs – Kevin Herold(Mac) faces Joe Barbato(Wan) in the quarterfinal round.
103lbs – Chris Perez(Mac) faces Joe Maher(BJFK) in the quarterfinal round
112lbs – Sam Galasso(Syo) faces Mike Lofrese(GC) (3th seed) in the preliminaries; Anthony Locast (Seaford) faces John Pellegrino (Division) (2nd seed) in the quarterfinals; Anthony Facchini (Sea) faces Mike Lofrese(GC) in the quarterfinals.
119lbs – Dylan Palacio (LB) faces Mike Palermo(Mac) in the preliminaries; Nick Falco (EM) faces Matt Schmelzinger (GC) in the quarterfinals; Mike Lazarus(Mac) faces Matt Schmelzinger(GC) in the preliminaries; Christian Toscano(Beth) faces Luke Alber(Fdale) in the quarterfinals.
125lbs – Dean Shmuely (NS) faces Gary Kavarsky(Law) in the quarterfinals.
130lbs – Danny Lofrese (GC) faces Kelly Palmer(Clark) in the quarterfinals.
135lbs – Mike Tuccilo(Jer) faces Adam D’Auguste(LB) in the quarterfinals.
140lbs – Rob Mancino (EM) faces Matt Eberlein(IT) in the quarterfinals.
145lbs – Mac Maldarelli (Cal) faces Gerard Quinn(Bald) in the quarterfinals.
152lbs – Jermaine John (Beth) faces Troy Sterling (UN) in the quarterfinals.
160lbs – Brandon Mulholland (Mac) faces Rob Grabher(NS) in the quarterfinals; Chris Piperno(Mac) faces James Ondris (Mass) in the quarterfinals; Guy Macchia (Syo) faces Anthony Mnicci(Pldg) in the quarterfinals.
171lbs – Nick Camera(Pldg) faces Joe Kavanagh(Wan) in the preliminaries.
189lbs – Kevin Gardivits(Glen Cove) faces Alex Todd (Cal) in the quarterfinals.
215lbs – Ajith Antony-Sylvester(UN) faces Louis Flaherty(Herr) in the preliminaries; Tom Hall(Wan) faces Evan Kappatos (Syo) in the preliminaries.
285lbs – Yassem Mudassar (Division) faces Paul Zbikowski(IT) in the pigtails;
to be continued