Section 8 2008 -2009 Preview
Are we ready to rumble ? There are many questions leading into the season concerning weight certifications. Wrestlers who thought they were going one weight were shocked to find out they were competing at a higher weight class. Now that the shock has worn off and the results are in, we can start the season. Can section 8 duplicate their second place finish in New York State ?
Will anyone stop the MacArthur Generals from winning their unprecedented eighth title in nine years ? Coach Greenblatt has been on record saying this might be his last year of coaching and he could be getting ready to ride into the sunset and wants to take the County Championship with him.
The odds are with the Generals and they have the target on their backs. The formula seems to work. The song, ” We are Family ” made famous by Sister Sledge in 1979 comes to mind as the Generals continue to churn out one county champ after another. The team does not lose but just reloads. They have a few individual winners and lot’s of wrestlers finish in the top six of the counties. The motto has always been ” Just score points ” You have to like their chances to repeat as few teams match the depth that the Generals can send out on the mat.
While MacArthur might walk off with the best tournament team, the Wantagh Warriors might have something to say about the best dual team. Under the tutelage of Co-Head Coaches, James Murphy ( Coach of the year, Nassau County 2008 ) Paul Gillespie ( Long Beach HS, former Head Coach of the Year ), Assistant Coach Izzy Medina and Middle School Head Coach John Hamilton ( East Meadow and Calhoun ) it is not a forgone conclusion who wins this year. While the Generals might come out on top at the Counties their neighbors could end up taking the title when they square off for all the marbles on December 17, 2008, at the Generals home gym. Unfortunately, the two rivals are in different divisions and can not meet at the end of the year to determine a true champion as Nassau County has continued to separate the schools by population. Wantagh is in Division 3A while MacArthur is in Division 2A.
The Generals have Alex Grant, 103 lbs, 2nd in 2008, Chris Perez, 112lbs, Sean Kempf, 119lbs, 2nd in 2008, Ariel Guerrero, 119 lbs, All County, Frankie Mederios, 130 lbs, Brian Herold 145 lbs, All County, 2008, Tyler Dunne, 145lbs /152lbs, ( 6th place in Iowa, Pre-season All American ) Brian Mullholland, 160 lbs, All County, 2008 and Joe Giamiata, 189, lbs, All County.
Wantagh is set to return with Sophomore transfer, Joe Barbato, 96 pounds, All County, 2008, Paul Friscia, 125 lbs, All Conference, 2008, Arquimedes Delacruz, 135 lbs, All County, 2008, Paul Liguori, 135 lbs, 3rd in NYS, Nick Fitzmaurice, 130 lbs, All Conference, Sophomore transfer, Joe Kavanagh, 2nd place, 2008, 171 lbs, All Conference, Josh Kule, 160, All Conference, John Greisheimer, 152 lbs, State Champion, Matt Loew, 189 lbs, 2nd 2008 and Thomas Hall, 215 lbs, ( Freshman All American ).
Massapequa is another team with high hopes. With the retirement of Coach Gary Mims, after the 2006 season there was no downtime as new coach Joe Catalanotto took over and added a few pieces to the puzzle by hiring Kevin Shippos who was a past NYS Champion and All American at the High School Nationals. The Chief’s put in a lot of practice time during the off season. The team lost two state place winners in Mike Doria and Shane Strumwasser but has the luxury of having a large team and numerous returning wrestlers such as Rudy Lanzilotta, 103 lbs, All Conference, Anthony Evangelista, 135 lbs, All Conference, Eric Kauffman, 140 lbs, All County, Josh Maddox, 145 lbs, All Conference, James Ondris, 152 lbs, All Conference, Robert Seckler, 171 lbs, Nick Insnardi, 171 lbs, All Conference and Conor Wetzel, 189lbs All Conference.
There are several other schools in Nassau that have the potential to move up the ladder and make some noise. Uniondale is one of those teams under the guidance of Coach Tim Goydoy, whose team’s continue to perform in the top ten of nassau county. This team will not surprise anyone any longer with the way they have been turning out All County Place winners.
Uniondale has highly regarded Mike Walker at 125 lbs, All County, Andre Berry, 152 lbs, 2nd 2008, Troy Sterling, 145 lbs, All Conference and Amazon at 112 lbs, All Conference.
After the first four teams, the rest of the race for placing in the County Championships is up for grabs. There are several teams that have good wrestlers but the lack of depth will hurt. Jericho High School is one team that comes to mind. Jericho will have Nick and Mike Tucillo, Joe Chamish and Steven Graziano. They have been putting in many off season workouts at Vougar’s Russian School of Wrestling. These kids are battle tested and will make some noise.
Seaford is another team that is building on their younger but very talented wrestlers. The team lost senior, Blake Fisher and Curren Digney which will hurt, but the Vikings are bringing back Will Montgomery, 103 lbs, 3rd place 2008, Anthony Fachinni, 119 lbs, 2nd place, 2008, and Anthony LoCast, 119 lbs, 4th 2008. The question is if they can add some muscle to the upper weights ?
Island Trees under the leadership of Damian Garcia has Matt Eberlein, 145 lbs, 2nd place 2008, Mike Alavanja, 119 lbs, Dan Nicolino, 215 lbs, and heavyweight Mike Zibokowski, 285 lbs all returning.
Baldwin lost several key wrestlers from last year including Keron Williams, Willie Quinn, Vinny Famularo and Nick Azcona. The Bruins are returning team captain, Vinny Pecora, All State 103 lbs, 2008, Kyle Cohen, Kevin Yeh, Dylan Cohen and Gerard Quinn. There are several younger wrestlers in the program that have the potential to move up and place in the counties if things fall the right way.
No team lost more All County wrestlers than Plainedge High School. The Devils will have to replace Matt Rich, Jesse Sgaglione, John Makastchian, Rocky Cervini and several other seniors. This will be a huge mountain to climb but if anyone can develop new wrestlers from football players it is Head Coach Rob Shavers. I believe that given less the team can produce more. Returning for the Devils are Nick Camera and Steve Spurgeon.
Garden City is a young and very talented team. The Trojans return County Champion Mike LoFrese, 1st place 112 lbs, 2008, Danny LoFrese 130 lbs, Matt Schmelizger, 119 lbs or 125 lbs, John Whitman, 125 lbs, Drew LoCurto, and Connor Horl, 215 lbs. The team will benefit by the addition of several wrestlers making the transition from the youth team to the varsity which was run by former 3x All American Jon Masa of Hofstra and Paul Gillespie. This team could be in the hunt in the near future.
Clarke High School can never be counted out under the leadership of Head Coach Mike Leonard. Last year, the team had Matt Gaynor and Jordan Spirou make the States. Both were lost to graduation. The team will be led by Kelly Palmer, 119 lbs, 6th place, All County, 2008, Tiago Pierera, 112lbs, Mike Leonard Jr., 125 lbs and several other younger wrestlers. The team has worked very hard throughout the off season and it would not be a surprise to see them hold their own as the season progresses and gains some experience.
Another potential contender is Farmingdale High School. The team is led by Thomas Jackson, 3rd place 2008, 215 lbs, 2008 and Luke Alber, 3rd place, 2008, 112 or 119 lbs. Farmingdale is always in the mix with a new group of tough wrestlers every year.
Bellmore JFK has several wrestlers returning that could make some noise: Joe Maher, Rich Frank, and Mike Snow.
The rest of the teams include: Dylan Palacio of Long Beach, Mack Maldarelli, Carlos Navas and Valentino of Calhoun HS, German Meza and Christian Toscano of Bethpage, Nick Falco, Steve Rispoli Robert Mancino, Andrew Danzinger, Joe Ocasio of East Meadow, John Daddino of Sewanaka East, Robert Grabher of North Shore, Nick Arujau, Sebastian Randazzo and Guy Macchia of Syosett and the Agu brothers of Freeport.
It should be a very interesting year with many upsets. How will Section 8 perform upstate? Can the Generals be knocked off the top ? Who is going to win individual titles ? Follow the action at www.Lighthousewrestling.com