LONG ISLAND TEAM PREVIEW
By Jim & Tony Nordland
Defending two-time Suffolk team champion John Glenn HS is shooting for a three-peat but will face a challenge by a strong Longwood HS squad. Other perennial powers are Hauppauge HS, Connetquot HS and a tough Brentwood HS team. All five of those teams figure to be amongst the top of the standings at the Suffolk County Championships.
Many experts feel that Longwood HS is the elite team and will be led by the Rasheed brothers, Corey (112) and Malik (125). Both have earned county and All-State honors over the past two seasons. Coach Mike Picozzi and the Lions also have county place-winners, Alonzo Lopez (119), Casey Brice (130), Nick Hall (145), along with NHSCA medalist Pat Jennings (160). Other key prospects are Anthony Donofrio (96), Ricky Renck (152) and Dylan Sebolt at 171 pounds. John Glenn HS and coach TJ Brocking return county bronze medalist Joe Giaramita (189), along with a trio of all-county performers; Vin Punzone (119), James Dekrone (130) and Ken Massa at 152 pounds. The Knights also point to junior Bryce Sinisgalli (103), Ken Meinsen (135) and Mike Pinto, a senior at 285. Hauppauge HS will be led by defending state champion sophomore Mark West at 112 pounds.Veteran coach Chris Messina also has national junior place-winner Chanse Menendez who hopes to improve on his third place finish at the 2010 meet, he is a potential champion at 171 pounds. Assistant coach Jerry Goodfellow and the Eagles also have all-county Nick Mauriello (130), younger brother Chris, a 7th grader at 96, along with league champions, Michael Ehlinger (135) and Adam Lepkowsky (145), along with place-winner Anthony Martello at 215 pounds.
Connetquot HS finished unbeaten last season in dual competition and boast a formidable squad. Coach Bill Santoro, now in his 33th season, and able assistant Anthony Melfi (20 years) have a strong line-up from start to finish. The Thunderbirds return three all-county matmen; junior Sean McCabe (106-8 career), Stephen Drew (32-7 mark last season) at 125 and Nick LoBue (33-6) at 160. Other top returnees are Anthony Scaffedi (103), Steve Bulzomi (112), Joey Gates (130), Mike Cella (145), tough John Zullo (171) and Kenny Drew at 215 pounds. Brentwood HS will be led by state medalist senior Alex Gomez at 125 pounds. Coach Ralph Napolitano, now in his 19th year, and the Indians also have county medalist Eric Orellana (112), along with a solid middle weight contingent; Humberto Garcia (125/130), David Chaverra (135) and tough Alexis Blanco at 140 pounds.
The Nassau County Championships should be a three-team race with defending champion Long Beach, Wantagh and MacArthur. Those three teams look to be the front runners and have have enough firepower power to claim the Nassau crown.
Long Beach HS will be paced by state medalists Mark Raghunandan (103) and Dylan Palacio (145). Raghunandan won 32 bouts last season and Palacio had 42 wins, both are juniors and potential NYS champions. Coach Ray Adams and the Marines also have the Sewkumar brothers; Steven (96) and county finalists Krishna at 103, Edisson Tigre Borja (135) and Nick Khoury (140). Other county place-winners include Matt Gray (112) and Oral Allen at 119. Wantagh HS also boasts two returning All-State grapplers, Joe Barbato (140-18 career) at 119 and Joe Kavanagh (112-14) at 189. Both were finalists and hope to claim state gold medals in their senior campaigns.Coaches James Murphy and Paul Gillespie also have all-county returnees; Dan McDevitt (130) and two-time placer Thomas Hall (215). The Warriors also have 8th-grader Jose Rodriguez (96), Chris Araoz (125), Chris Loew (160) and Stephen English at 285. MacArthur HS should be near the top at the county meet and look to reigning Nassau champion and All-American Chris Perez (130), along with county medalist Angelo Rella (135). Coach Rob Paletta, now in his 2nd season, points to league champions freshman Justin Cooksey (96) and Anthony Locke (125), along with other standouts, Kevin Herold (112) and former two-time sectional place-winner Thomas Manning at 130 pounds.
Other top Nassau squads are Massapequa, Levittown Division, BFJK, Uniondale, Syosset, Mepham and Plainedge. Massapequa HS has county runner-up Conor Wetzel, a former Cadet All-American at 189 and a quartet of all-county performers. That group includes sophomore Joe Doria (103), Matt Alleva (130), Nick Chicoine (140) and highly-regarded Chris Sarro at 145 pounds. Coach Joe Catalanottto, now in his 5th year, and the Chiefs also have Jake Spero (125), Rudy Lanzillotta (135) and junior Andrew Chicoine at 152 pounds. Plainedge HS has potential state king with David Ng (49-1) last season at 285 pounds, he hopes to improve on his third place finish at the 2010 state meet. Coach Rob Shaver and able assistant Peter Marques also look to Nassau finalist Dan Spurgeon (152) and county bronze medalist Conner Sullivan (112). Other key returnees are all-county Mike Nigro (145) and tough Andrew Jones at 171 pounds.
Other top squads in Suffolk appear to be Sachem East, Westhampton Beach, Huntington, Kings Park, Sayville, William Floyd, Rocky Point, Ward Melville, East Islip, Northport, Smithtown East, West Babylon, Sachem North, Riverhead, Central Islip, Northport, Mt.Sinai and Divison II champion Bayport Blue-Point HS.
Sachem East HS returns state meet qualifier Conor O'Hara (112), along with Billy Merone (140), Sean O'Malley (145) and Frank Merante at 189. Westhampton Beach HS has the Bass brothers; Conner (122 career wins) at 130/135 and Zach, a NYS Greco champion at 140/145. Coach Paul Bass, enters his 24th year at the helm, and has 2009 county placer Matt Mazarakis (90 wins) at 160 to bolster a solid line-up. Other top Hurricanes are sophomore Alex Tanzman (96), Vincent Garafola (112), Will Todd (119) and all-league Tim Daly at 140 pounds. Huntington HS has reigning state king Nigel McNeil (134-15 career) at 119 and state finalist Lou Puca (122-32) at 171. Other Bue Devil standouts are freshman Corey Jamison (112) and Anthony Puca at 285. Kings Park HS has outstanding lightweights with Andrew Roden (96) and Pat Primerano (103). The Kingsmen also look to Warren Bosch (215) and county finalist Greg Martin at 285. Sayville HS will be led by the Leshinger brothers, sophomore Matt (112) and Princeton-bound Steven at 145, both finished fourth at the 2010 county meet. Coach Gary Pesko and the Golden Flashes also point to the Siracusa brothers, Justin (103) and soccer standout Chris (119), along with Nick Pesko (119), Justin Bonamico (135), Mike Payne (140) and Rich Millwater at 171 pounds.
William Floyd HS has all-county Tom Gerle, a sophomore at 135, along with Matt Bradice (96) and Chris Innace at 285. West Babylon HS returns Suffolk runner-up Paul Bauman (135), Michael Richardson (140) and county bronze medalist junior Reggie Robinson at 285 pounds. Rocky Point HS lost three NYS champions (Dutton, Volpe & Coggins) due to graduation, but will still put a solid team on the mat.Two All-County matmen return, 8th-grader Thomas Dutton (119) and Matt Ross at 145. Another key returnee is junior Sam Schwartzapfel at 130. Central Islip HS will be paced by returning league champion junior Walter Ibanez (96) and league finalist Julian Ming at 171.Coaches Brad and Rick Brzozinski, enter their 15th season, along with assistant AtoThomas, also point to league placers; Giovanni Sanchez (112) and Marc Sanchez (119). Sachem North HS has freshman Sean O'Hagan (103), Alec Ross (112) and two-time league placer Frank Napoli (75 career wins) at 119. Coach Ray Pickersgill, now in his 17th season, also has Arrow standouts with league place-winner Richie Avella (145), junior Anthony Marino (171) and two quality 285-pounders, including league placer Matt Cosgrove (27-6) and junior Anthony Confessore.
Defending Division II team champion Bayport-Blue Point HS has three returning individual champions, sophomore Ryan Hake (76-24 career) at 125, Kyle Underwood (96-32) at 130 and Jeff Purdy (80-16) at 135. Coach Rich Reilly, now in his 8th season, and the Phantoms also look to Justin Engel (103), Justin Underwood (112), Kyle McGovern (119), Sachem East transfer Brandon Thomas (140), Ralph Fabiani (145), along with county placer Jim Alles (215) and junior prospect Harrison DeSousa at 285 pounds.
In the CHSAA, the team to beat is St. Anthony's HS. The Friars are loaded with talent and are led by 2009 state champion Grant Greene (148-14 career) at 125 and state meet qualifiers Jimmy Morris (130), Jamel Hudson (135), Paul Alessandrini (189) and Jon Desir (285). Coach Tony Walters also has Freddy Dunau (a Massapequa resident at 96), and junior Dariyan Riley (80-14), a Louisiana state champion at 171 pounds. Chaminade HS has freshman standout Danny Jones (112) and Sean Andrews at 215. The Flyers' head coach George Dlugolonski, now in his 39th season, also looks to senior leadership with Mike Jones (135), John Faglione (140), Mike Rizzo (145) and John Sikula at 285. Kellenberg Memorial HS has potential state place-winner with junior Pat Skinner at 103. Also to watch are Chris Vono (112), Chris Federlin (119) and Zach Indovino at 125 pounds.
John Glenn enters the season with a 59-match win streak. Longwood will meet Brentwood in a League I battle in early January. Huntington HS is the state leader with 25 individual NYS champions, the Blue Devils could add two more titles to their mat ledger this season. Congratulations to coach Bill Desario who recently earned his 300th dual meet victory. Desario was a 1964 NYS champion at Mepham and has coached at Babylon, Commack and now Ward Melville. At the 2010 NYS Championships, the top three individual teams were Rocky Point (72.5 points), Huntington (67.5) and Wantagh (62). Also finishing in the TopTen were John Glenn (42) and St. Anthony's with 40 points...
|LONG ISLAND TEAM PREVIEW|
|Huntington's Nigel McNeil battles Longwood's Malik Rasheed in last year's Suffolk County final.|
|Wantagh's returning Nassau County champion, Joe Kavanagh.|
|John Glenn HS|
|Long Beach HS|