At the 44th annual Nassau County Championships, MacArthur won its first county title in school history with 208 points and were led by champion James Strouse who defeated East Meadow's Chris DeLuca, 3-2, to claim the 135-pound title. Rounding out the team scoring was East Meadow(155), defending team champ Massapequa(143.5), Long Beach(122.5) and Bellmore-Kennedy with 99 points. Team runner-up East Meadow crowned one champion Vinny Romanotto, who edged Bethpage's Chris DeSimone, 5-3 ot for the 130-pound crown. Romanotto was voted the Champion of Champions. Massapequa's Walter Sosnowski(103) earned his second consecutive county title and defeated Oceanside's Jim Dennis, 5-4. Hicksville had two county winners; Matt Anglin(96) and Mike Williams at 140. Other titlists were; Long Beach's Derek Fontaine  at 112, BJFK's Travis Sickle at 119 and Calhoun's Cliff Smith who won at 125 was voted the outstanding wrestler in the tournament. Smith's teammate Greg Lawrence narrowly defeated Farmingdale's Steve Panarelli, 2-1, for the 160-pound crown. Also earning titles were Craig Gunder(Mineola) at 152, Chris Weidman(Baldwin) at 171, who won the Most Pins Award  and Uniondale's Antonio Pegues who decisioned Farmingdale's Chris Parris, 2-1, at 189 pounds. Pegues was a Suffolk champ at Brentwood  in 2000 and became the only wrestler on Long Island to win an individual title in both Nassau and Suffolk County. MacArthur's Bruce Popko, an 8th grader, finished third at 96 pounds.
     At the Suffolk County Championships, Huntington captured the team title for the second consecutive year and were led by defending state titlist Pat Flynn(112) and Steven Palacios at 125 pounds. Palacios was embroiled in a wild match with North Babylon's Greg McCoy, as he rallied to knot the match at 10-10 during regulation. In the overtime stanza,  Palacios pinned McCoy at the 7:31 mark and was voted the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award. The Blue Devils' highly-touted Stephon Sair dropped a 9-7 match to Patchogue- Medford's Gerard Melito, 9-7, at 145 pounds. Huntington totaled 167 points to finish ahead of Brentwood(114.5), Patchogue-Medford(95), North Babylon(93.5) and East Islip with 88.5 points. The championship finals saw an epic battle  at 96 pounds, as  Brentwood's Tom Finnerty was pitted against East Islip's Rohan Murphy. Murphy, who had his legs amputated at the age of 4, is considered one of the top lightweights on Long Island. He opened up a 6-2 lead and was leading midway through the third period when Finnerty hit a dramatic five point move with 15 seconds remaining and emerged with a 7-6 victory. The 5,619 fans at the Stony Brook Complex  gave both wrestlers a two-minute standing ovation in one of the most memorable final bouts in Suffolk County history. Finnerty was voted the Champion of Champions Award. Murhy defeated Huntington's Shawn Riley, 5-3, and Finnerty defeated Islip's Ryan Patrovich, 2-0, in the semifinals.  Patrovich became only  the second 7th grader to place at the county meet and finished fourth in the weight class. The first seventh grader to place was SWR's Jesse Jantzen. Other county winners were; defending state king, Rob Vaccaro(103) of East Islip, Sachem's John Manarte(119), tough Dan Roberts of Bellport at 130 pounds, Justin Ianello(135) of Hauppauge, Amityville's Uthman Jackson(140) and defending champion Islip's Mike Patrovich who decisioned Central Islip's Jose Viera, 11-2, to claim the 152-pound title. Newfield's Ryan Robey won the 171-pound crown and captured the Most Pins Award. Blue Devils' coach Lou Giani increased his career total of county place-winners to 154 and eclipsed the previous mark set by Amityville's Joe Valla with 149 all-county grapplers.
     At the 39th annual New York State Intersectional Championships Section Eleven(Suffolk County) totaled 204.5 points and won their third consecutive team title and 13th overall, the most of any section in the state. Suffolk showed its strength as they crowned four champions and had 11 place-winners. In the team scoring Section Six(Buffalo) was a distant second with 156.5 points, followed by Section Four(Binghamton) with 155, Section Three(Syracuse) with 147 and Section Two(Albany) who finished with 140.5 points. Winning state titles for the Suffolk contingent were, two-time champion East Islip's Rob Vaccaro(36-0) at 103,  Bellport's Dan Roberts(35-0) at 130, Amityville's Uthman Jacksn(38-0) at 140 and Islip's Mike Patrovich(33-0) at 152. Patrovich defeated nemesis Joe ...    
Continued on Page 2 click here...
A LOOK BACK - 2001