Another wrestling season is upon us and the annual question is…what team will win in Suffolk County tournament this year? Most seasons will yield an answer that involves several teams that will battle for the annual title. But the 2010-11season seems to be a bit different. Longwood seems to roll off the tongue of every wrestling prognosticator this time around – and for good reason: Longwood enters the 2010-11 campaign with a decided edge in pre-season ranked wrestlers and returning county place-winners. The Lions return 7 all county wrestlers including finalist and runner-up Malik Rasheed, now a junior. It took a future state champ to defeat Rasheed in last year’s Suffolk final, and all Rasheed did was repeat that feat by taking 2nd in NY State behind Nigel McNeil of Huntington. In addition Longwood returns 6 other county place-winners in Casey Brice (3rd), Patrick Jennings (3rd), Corey Rasheed (4th), Nicky Hall (4th), Anthony Donofrio (5th) and Alonzo Lopez (5th). Add highly regarded wrestlers Andrew Stock and Dylan Seybolt to the formula and Longwood posts a lineup as formidable as a Suffolk County champion team should be.
The Lions have not won the Suffolk team crown since 19XX. In 2002 they finished 1.5 points behind William Floyd. In 1998 Longwood fell just 2 points short of Huntington. But this season expect Longwood to win their first county team championship since 1997. But let’s not fool ourselves. A Suffolk County title is not one that you can mail-in this early. With perennial powers such as defending champion John Glenn, runner-up Hauppauge, Huntington and Brentwood and Connetquot in the mix, you can be sure they may have something to say about what team wins the county title. Hauppauge returns state champion Mark West, Chanse Menendez (3rd) and Nick Mauriello (4th). They will also get solid production from Chris Mauriello, Michael Ehlinger, Adam Lepkowsky and Anthony Martello.
John Glenn’s NY State dual meet champion team graduated a core of stars, but they will reload this season and let their presence be known. Joe Giaramita (3rd in Suffolk) returns along with James Dekrone (4th), Kevin Massa (4th) and Vinny Punzone (5th). John Glenn will also have a few other strong returning point scorers in Bryce Sinisgalli, Anthony Abidin (2nd in Nassau last season), Ken Meinsen and Mike Pinto.
Huntington will be right there as it always seems with returning state champion Nigel McNeil and county + state runner-up Lou Puca leading the charge. Corey Jamison, Duncan Murchison and Nick Lupi should also be major contributors.
Connetquot will bring back a trio of all county wrestlers in Sean McCabe (3rd), Stephen Drew (5th) and Nick Lobue (5th). John Zullo and Mike Cella will also be a point scorers for this team.
Brentwood will boast a strong lineup this season lead by Alex Gomez (Suffolk county runner-up and 5th in NY State). Eric Orellana (6th) returns along with David Chaverra , Alex Blanco and Dimas Berrios.
Other teams to look out for this season
Rocky Point returns Thomas Dutton (5th), Nick Accardi and Matt Ross while adding Sam Schwartzapfl to their roster this year. Sachem East returns Conor O’Hara (2nd), Sean O’Malley (3rd), Bill Merone, Frank Merante and Dylan Ventura. West Babylon will look to returning 2nd in the county Paul Baumann to lead them along with Reggie Robinson (3rd) and Michael Richardson. Mt. Sinai looks to improve on their 14th place finish in Suffolk last year with returners Eric Kogel (2nd), Frank Abbondanza (5th) and Chris Powers (6th). Sayville returns two 4th place finishers in brothers Matt and Steve Leshinger. Deer Park also returns two 4th place finishers in Rich Lugo and Joe Bilello. Central Islip will compete with Walter Ibanez, Julian Ming and Dondre Bailey. Riverhead’s charge will be led by Chris Krumbiegal, Joe Menna and Shawn Yarborogh. Westhampton will look to crack the top 15 with returners Conner Bass and Matt Mazarakis.
Suffolk League Tournament Team Champion Predictions
League 1 – What a league tourney this will be. Longwood will win but Brentwood and Sachem East will battle it out for the #2 spot with William Floyd not too far behind.
League 2 – Connetquot is the clear favorite in League 2 with Central Islip looking for a 2nd place finish.
League 3 – Very close race for the top spot in this league tourney. Look for East Islip to edge out Smithtown East, but this one can really go either way.
League 4 – West Babylon is the favorite to win this league and Riverhead should be a solid 2nd.
League 5 – Always competitive league. Hauppauge and Huntington will vie for the top spot but Hauppauge’s depth should win out. Sayville, Islip and Deer Park will be in the hunt for 3rd.
League 6 – Glenn still has the power and depth to win this league with Mt. Sinai 2nd and Rocky Point dropping to 3rd this season. SWR and Westhampton are also competitive in this very solid league tournament.
The top 15 teams in the Suffolk County tournament should look something like this when it’s all done at Stony Brook in late February.
3. John Glenn
7. Sachem East
8. W. Babylon
9. Mt. Sinai
10. Rocky Point
11. Kings Park
12. Shoreham Wading River
15. Deer Park
Suffolk County individual champion favorites
While weight classes will undoubtedly change these wrestlers are regarded as in the mix to win a county title.
96 – Anthony Donofrio (Longwood), Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville)
103 – TJ Fabian (SWR), Matt Leshinger (Sayville), Corey Jamison (Huntington)
112 – Mark West (Hauppauge), Corey Rasheed (Longwood)
119 – Nigel McNeil (Huntington)
125 – Alex Gomez (Brentwood), Malik Rasheed (Longwood), Nick Mauriello ( Hauppauge)
130 – Casey Brice (Longwood), Michael Ehlinger (Hauppauge), Sam Schwartzapfel (Rocky Point)
135 – Paul Baumann (W. Babylon)
140 – Eric Kogel (Mt. Sinai)
145 – Nicky Hall (Longwood), Matt Ross (Rocky Point), Steve Leshinger (Sayville)
152 – Kyle Wade (Islip), Rich Lugo (Deer Park)
160 – Lou Puca (Huntington), Pat Jennings (Longwood)
171 – Chanse Menendez (Hauppauge)
189 – Joe Giaramita (John Glenn), Frank Abbondanza (Mt. Sinai)
215 – 285: Greg Martin (Kings Park), Reggie Robinson (W. Babylon), Joe Bilello (Deer Park), Evan Wildberger (Lindenhurst)
Suffolk Mat Notes
Heavyweights Abound: This doesn’t happen often but 215-285 seems to be one of the more competitive weights in Suffolk this upcoming season. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishers form 2010 return in Greg Martin, Reggie Robinson and Joe Bilello. Evan Wildberger rounds out a top 4 that is a strong as ever in the heavyweight classes.
Does John Glenn miss a beat? Bet on NO. All I heard about was how much they lost, and they did. But they are 2nd only to Longwood in returning county place-winners and equal in returning county tournament qualifiers.
End of a long line of brothers at Islip. Are the brother combinations at Islip done for a while? Kyle Wade takes the mat his senior year looking for a state title. The Patrovich and Wade brothers at Islip have combined for 7 county 5 state titles and an addl. four 2nd place-finishes in NY Sate. Will Kyle Wade make it 8 county and 6 state titles?