By Jim & Tony Nordland

  John Glenn HS could be the top team on Long Island and hope to improve on their fourth place finish at the 2008 Suffolk Championships. Coach TJ Brocking has the Knights primed to capture their first Division I county title. Suffolk finalist Nick Meinsen (125) leads a formidable squad that has all-county matmen Tyler Sinisgalli (130), Matt Fusaro (135) and junior Nick Terdick at 140. Other key wrestlers include Matt Gannon (119), Mike Bosco (152) and senior Chris Carlucci at 160 pounds. Another front runner squad is Hauppauge HS, they boast a balanced line up and will be led by defending state champion Ken Collado (78-17 career mark) at 112. Veteran coach Chris Messina and the Eagles also point to all-county Adam Lepkowsky (119) and Scott Munro at 285, along with Nick Mauriello (96), Jesse Marro (135), junior Kevin Panebianco (145) and senior Eric Wooley at 215 pounds. Rocky Point HS will field a strong squad and are led by two-time state placer Stephen Dutton (Hauppauge transfer), a junior at 135, and county runner-up, sophomore Matt Ross at 112. Coach Darren Goldstein and assistant Anthony Ciolino also look to junior Anthony Volpe, a county bronze medalist at 145, along with Jerry Ceccio (152) and tough Billy Coggins, a county placer at 160 pounds. Wantagh HS and third-year coach Jim Murphy have two-time state champion Paul Liguori (176-13 career), now a senior who will compete at 135 pounds this season, and reigning state king John Greisheimer (144-14) at 152. At this point of the season, Murphy added, "The kids have been wrestling tough, we are young and still going through an evaluation period." Two county finalists also bolster their team, sophomore Joe Kavanagh (LDivision transfer) and tough Matt Loew (88-32 career), a junior and Cadet placer at 189 pounds. Other Warriors to watch are all-county Joe Barbuto (GCity transfer) at 96/103 and senior Quimes Delacruz who will see action at 135/140 pounds. MacArthur HS has won seven Nassau County Championships and coach Howie Greenblatt, now in his 23rd season will have the Generals ready for the upcoming season. As Greenblatt stated, "Most people don't recall who won the dual meets and tournaments in December, but they remember who won the counties in February, that has always been our goal at MacArhur." Four all-county matmen provide a strong nucleus, county runner-up Alex Grant (103/112), Thomas Manning (96), senior Sean Kempf (119) and Brain Herold at 140. Other top prospects are Ariel Guerrero (125), junior Frank Mederios (130), Tyler Dunne (140) and Brandon Mulholland at 160. Longwood HS returns four county medalists, including Suffolk finalist Ernest James (215), along with 8th-grader Nicky Hall (112), Patrick Jennings (130), and junior Will Parks at 171.The Lions also have the Rasheed brothers; Cory (96) and Malik (103), 7th and 8th graders, respectively, sophomore Casey Brice (119) and Ben Lee at 285 pounds. Connetquot HS and veteran coach Bill Santoro, now in his 31st year, point to county medalists Sean McCabe (103) and senior James Corsitto (135) for leadership, along with a group of six returning all-league grapplers.The Thunderbirds have James McCabe (119), James Cameron (125), Connor Gribbin (130), Nick Lobue (152), Mike Caiozzo (160) and Joe Pellegrino at 189 pounds. The defending League II champions could finish amongst the top five teams at the Suffolk meet. Defending Section Eleven Tournament champions Brentwood HS has returning Suffolk champion and state placer Josue Mendez, a senior at 171, along with county medalist and potential finalist, sophomore Alex Gomez at 119 pounds. Coach Ralph Napolitano and the Indians look to reload with Humberto Garcia (112), the Calderon brothers; Travis (130) and Mario (135), Jesse Cabrera (152) and Carlos Hernandez at 215 pounds. Perennial Nassau power Massapequa HS could finish in the top five at the county meet this season. Coach Joe Catalanotto, now in his third-year, are led by all-county Eric Kaufmann, a senior at 152. The Chiefs also point to freshman Rudy Lanzilotta (103), Anthony Evangelista (135), Josh Maddock (145), James Ondris (160) and Nick Isnardi at 171 pounds. Huntington HS has returning county champion and state bronze medalist Damon McQueen, a junior at 103 pounds, and all-county sophomore Nigel McNeil at 112 pounds. Legendary coach Lou Giani, enters his 41st season, now as an assistant to Kieran Mock (1982 NYS champion). The Blue Devils also have top performers, Omar Santiago (130), Maurice Loadholt (135), Lou Puca (160), Anthony Lupi (171) and Ryan Fox at 189. Uniondale HS will be led by returning finalist Andre Berry (140), and county bronze medalist, tough Mike Walker at 125. Coach Tim Godoy, now in his 14th season said, "We will be competitive, we are still a work in progress and should be better at the end of the season." Other key wrestlers are Troy Sterling (145) and junior Ajith Anthony-Sylvester, a potential finalist at 215 pounds. Shoreham Wading-River HS has 2007 state champion Steven Keith (128-15 career), at 119 and state placer T.J.Neidhardt at 160 pounds. Both Keith and Neidhardt, are seniors and finished third at the 2008 state meet. The Wildcats also point to T.J Fabian at 96 and senior Dave Flynn at 130 pounds. Other top teams are Plainedge, Sayville, East Islip, Northport, Smithtown East, Sachem North, Sachem East, Riverhead, Islip, Syosset, Seaford, Central Islip, Harborfields, Chaminade, along with Farmingdale, Westhampton Beach, Bellmore-JFK, Miller Place, Mt. Sinai, Amityville, Long Beach, Island Trees, Walt Whitman, Mepham, Commack and Ward Melville.

There are five Long Island state champions on the mats this season, the aforementioned Colllado, Keith, Liguori, Greisheimer and Syosset junior Nick Arujau (107-7 career) who will be at 125 pounds. Keith and Liguori will attend Harvard University in the fall and Greisheimer is headed to Edinboro, PA. If John Glenn or Hauppauge falter, look for a young Longwood Lion squad to challenge for the county title. The last time Wantagh won the Nassau title was in 1968. The Suffolk Championships are scheduled for February13th-14th @ Hofstra University, the Nassau Championships for February 20th-21st @ Hofstra, and the NYS Championships are slated for February 27th-28th, at the Times-Union Center in Albany...
Defending New York State champion, Syosset Braves' junior Nick Arujau (107-7 career) will be at 125 pounds.
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