It’s that time of the year: Time to put the footballs away, Time to lace up the wrestling shoes and get your headgear out of the closet, Time to stop eating all those great meals, and time to step on the scale. As we embark on the start of another High School wrestling season, we must factor in who graduated from which team, who gained the most weight, what weight classes will our champions be grappling in and who worked the hardest in the off season before making any predications for Section 8. There are so many variables. For instance, which club did you wrestle in? Let’s see. We have Razor, Wantagh’s 3 Style Club, Strong Island, VHW, Ascend, Babylon Panther Wrestling, and the many wrestlers who train privately. Changes for 2011, let’s see… How about 96 and 285 both count as mandatory weight classes. Which team has the most depth? There will be one team Championship this year in Nassau. You can throw out the A and B divisions. Let’s see who the real number one Dual Meet winner is.
Some of the better teams include Long Beach High School who won the Nassau County Championship in surprising fashion last year. The defending champs are led by Nassau County Head Coach of the year for 2009-10, Ray Adams and his assistants, Miguel DelGado and Leo Palacio. They bring back some serious muscle. Leading the charge is Mark Raghunandan who is the reigning Nassau County Champion at 96 pounds. Mark also competed in Fargo, North Dakota this past summer taking second place in the Nationals and has worked very hard training in the off season. We must not forget Krishna and Steven Sewkumar, the 2010 runner up at 96 pounds. At 103 pounds, Long Beach returns Matt Gray who took 3rd in the County; Oral Allen, returning 4th place at 112 lbs; Edisson Tigre-Borja, runner-up at 130 pounds; Nick Khoury, runner-up at 135 pounds, Dylan Palacio, runner-up at 140 lbs, a former High School All American from Fargo 2 years ago who came so close to upsetting defending state champion, Stephen Dutton last year during a very, very close semifinal match at the states. Expectations are high. Next is Adam D’Auguste a third place wrestler last year at 145 pounds and County Qualifiers Joshufa Lopez at 160 lbs and Joe Bosco at 189 pounds. Does Long Beach have enough?
Other teams in contention for a Dual Meet Championship as well as a County Crown include the Massapequa Cheifs who won the Class A Championship last year. They bring back the following wrestlers: Joe Doria, 5th place in the County at 96 lbs; Chris Broccoli, 112 lbs; Jake Spero, 125 lbs; Justin Paradiso, 119 lbs; Rudy Lanzillotta, 119 lbs; Rob Zupo, 125 lbs; Rob Gerraputa, 130 lbs; Andrew Chicoine, 135 lbs; Nick Chicoine, 6th in County at 140 lbs; Andrew Hoffman, 140 lbs; Chris Sarro, 4th in County at 145 lbs; Tom Schaefer, 171 lbs and Conor Wetzel, 3rd in County at 189 lbs.
The MacArthur Generals under the direction of Head Coach Rob Paletta finished 2nd in the Dual Meet Championships last year. In 2010-2011, the Generals return: Justin Cooksey, 96 lbs; Anthony Boccasini, 103 lbs; Tom Manning 112 lbs; Jonathan Funes, 112 lbs; Alex Popko, 119 lbs; Anthony Locke, 125 lbs; Robert Bennett, 125 lbs; Chris Perez, HS All America, returning County Champion at 125 lbs, Ryan Donahue, 130 lbs; Angelo Rella, 6th in County at 130 lbs; Peter Mack, 140 lbs; Joe Cataldo, 145 lbs; Eric Anderson, 152 lbs and Nick Marrero, 171 lbs.
Another team that could contend is the Plainedge Devils. Under the leadership of Rob Shavers, you can never count them out. Coach Shavers does more with less than any coach in Nassau. He is an outstanding technician that makes his team better. Some of the wrestlers coming back include: Connor Sullivan, 4th in County at 96 lbs; Chris Nigro, 103 lbs; Mike Scuttelaro, 119 lbs; Rus Lascala, 125 lbs; Sean Peters, 135 lbs; Mike Nigro, 4th in County, 140 lbs; Dan Spurgeon, runner-up at 145 lbs; Jon Peters, 145 lbs; Dan Coder, 152 lbs; Tyler Poli, 152 lbs; Andrew Jones, 160 lbs; John Caltigirone, 189 lbs and Dave Ng, 3rd in NYS.
A real surprise last year was Levittown-Division. Can they do it again?? The team will includes: Brandon Crafa, 103 lbs; Alex Bossert, 112 lbs; John Pellegrino, 3rd in County 119 lbs; Jon Maldonado, 130 lbs; Mike Carella, 125 lbs; Jim Kirk, 135 lbs; Eric Brouillet, 140 lbs; Felix Perez, 145 lbs; Juan Carlos-Diaz, 4th in County at 160 lbs and Rob McNamara at 171 lbs.
The Wantagh Warriors are coming back with a very competitive team that wrestled the entire off season attending events all over the country. Five wrestlers competed in Fargo for Team New York. At 96 pounds, Jose Rodriguez, Kyle Quinn and Blaise Kavanagh will be looking to make the transition to the varsity. Other wrestlers in the mix include Alex Kaufman, 103 lbs; Gary Sidoti, 103 lbs; Joe Barbato, former All American, NYS runner-up at 103 lbs; Danny McDevitt, 3rd in County at 112 lbs; Chris Aaroz, 119 lbs; Vinny Turano, 119 lbs; Kenny Albert, 119 lbs; Chris Loew, 152 lbs; James Corbett, 152 lbs; Joe Kavanagh, former HS All American, NYS Runner-up 171 lbs; Sean Tomlinson, 171 lbs; Tom Hall, former HS All American, 2nd and 5th in County the last two years and Stephen English, 285 lbs.
How about the Uniondale Knights? Can Coach Godoy reach into his bag of tricks? He is among the best coaches in Section 8 and proves it every year. You can never count out the Knights. Wrestlers that deserve mention are: Adrian Berry, 96 lbs; Marvan Amazan, 119 lbs; Khaliq Evans, 119 lbs; Denvol Haye, 4th in County 125 lbs; Devon Russell, 125 lbs; Teniola Daramola, 160 lbs; Davlon Porter, 171 lbs; Elijah Shabazz, 189 lbs and Dante Salbrey, 285 lbs.
The East Meadow team led by Coach Crickley is returning some good wrestlers which include Sal Vallone, 103 lbs; Vinny Pannullo, 103 lbs; Matt Power, 112 lbs; Chris Dolan, 125 lbs; Steven Rispoli, 3rd in County at 130 lbs; Nolan Travis, 140 lbs; Evan Pantofel, 152 lbs and Andrew Danzinger, 2nd in Nassau County, 215 lbs.
Other wrestlers not mentioned in the team round-up that could be very strong contenders to place include: Dom Apesi, 135 lbs, Bethpage; Jermain John, 171 lbs, Bethpage; Mike Leonard, 130 lbs, Clarke; Kevin Sanchez, 160 lbs, Freeport; Oscar Bruce, 215 lbs, Freeport HS; Joe Manna, 285 lbs, Island Trees; Robert Person, 96 / 103 lbs, Bellmore JFK; Bobby Krug, 125 lbs, BJFK; Chris Briody, 96 lbs Locust Valley; Sam Ward, 103 lbs, Locust Valley; Mike Fera, 103 lbs, Manhasset; Jamie Dunn, 103 lbs, Mepham HS; John Lanzillotti, 103 lbs, Roslyn; Will Montgomery, 119 lbs, Seafod; Ryan Harding, 145, lbs, Seaford; Christian Dluginski, 119 lbs, Sewanhaka East; Jamie Rodriguez, 135 lbs, Southsid; Chris Frisina, 96 lbs, Syosset HS; Evan Kappatos, 285 lbs, Syosset and Dean Shmuely, North Shore HS.
This will be a challenging season starting with the weight certifications. Once we get over this obstacle we can see where the wrestlers will line up for the year. I can’t wait for some of the better match up’s. 96 and 285 count. Head-to-head matches that will determine who is ranked where and the coaches pulling their hair out at meetings making sure who is properly ranked before the Qualifiers, then the Counties and finally the States.