By Jim & Tony Nordland

      Long Island, still the hotbed for wrestling in New York State, has four defending state champions, two finalists and a three-time bronze medalist that will lead two very competitive sections, as the county championships unfold this weekend. Reigning state champions are sophomore
Paul Liguori (39-0, 127-13 career mark) of Wantagh at 112 pounds, Tyler Mashkow (35-0, 147-16)of Islip at 125, Corey Jantzen (29-0, 170-7 ) of Shoreham-Wading River at 135 and Eduardo Delgado (32-0, 171-32) of Long Beach at 152. State runner-ups are Islip's Lance Wade (29-3, 133-20) at 152 and Maciej Jochym (36-0, 128-10) of Herricks at 215, along with, three-time state place-winner, PJ Gillespie (33-0, 206-29) of Long Beach at 145 pounds.
      At the
Suffolk County Championships, defending champion East Islip had six league champions and will send another strong contingent to the county meet, the Redmen will be challenged by top-ranked Islip, who boast a line-up of four returning county champions, and appear to be the tournament favorite. Other contending teams are Hauppauge (16-0), League IV champions, perennial League I power, Brentwood (12-0), Commack (16-1), who won the League II tournament and emerged with five titlists, as well as League Six powers, Rocky Point, Mt. Sinai, SWRiver and Harborfields. Also in the team mix, will be Huntington, Sayville and Walt Whitman. East Islip will by paced by a trio of undefeated grapplers, second-seeded Bill Swezey (28-0) at 152, top-ranked Cameron Gee (21-0) at 171 and number #2, Ian MacIneirghe (29-0, 18 pins) at 215 pounds. Look for MacIneirghe to clash with top-seeded Carl Korpi for the county crown. Coach Guy Leggio also points to league champions,  Rob Rossi (20-8) at 103, Mike Perri (28-3) at 135 and Lamar Washington (30-1) at 189 pounds. Islip hopes to recapture the county team crown it won in 2005 and with their firepower, it certainly could happen. Coach Joe Patrovich looks to the aforementioned, Mashkow and Wade, along with state title contender, Paul Vaeth (31-1, 148-18) at 140 and state place-winner Jake Benedetto at 112 pounds. The Bucs also have top-seeded Christian Wintons, who could face returning county finalist and second-seeded Ian Mucciolo of SWR in the 275-pound final, along with Troy Mashkow (103), Kyle Wade (119) and all-county Ryan DiPaola at 189 pounds. Hauppauge will be led by 2005 state king John Oschmann (30-1) at 130 and second-seeded freshman Stephen Dutton (29-1) at 119 pounds. Coach Chris Messina and the Eagles also have league champions, Keith Collado (135). Jon Senese (140), Ryan O'Toole (152) and fifth-seeded Austin Schneider at 160 pounds. Brentwood will send a trio of outstanding lightweights to the county meet. Jarrell Garcia is second-seeded and lodged in the lower bracket, he could face his teammate, Alex Gomez or top-seeded Brandon Escobar (32-1) of Rocky Point, in the 103-pound final. The Indians also have four league champions, including state bronze medalist Ricardo Gomez (29-1) at 112, top-ranked Warren Murray at 119, Wilson Cardoza (125) and third-seeded Manny Matos at 275 pounds. Commack looks to county finalist Mike Fennell (31-1) at 140, he is second-ranked and could face Paul Vaeth for the title. The Cougars also have Anthony Cavallaro (112), pinner Eric Hersey (125), who could meet Tyler Mashkow in a semi-final skirmish, fifth-seeded Nick Feraco (145), Greg Fiorvanti (152) and James McDonald at 189 pounds. Other top-seeded wrestlers include, Steven Keith (31-1) of SWR at 96, Mt. Sinai's Charles Hoeg (30-1) at 130, tough Christian Jimenez (145) of Harborfields, state-ranked Francois Guerrier of Hills East at 160 and Conor Pryor of Ward Melville at 189 pounds. Other outstanding individuals that will challenge for county crowns are lightweights Matt Ross (RPt), Huntington's Jose Vasquez and Eric Wiener (DPark). Also to watch is Division II state place-winner, Jon Hoeg (Mt.Sinai) and tough Glen Donatelli (Bayport), both are at 103 and are lodged in the lower bracket. The top 112-pounders are, Jon Reyes (WB), Anthony Volpe (RPt), and Huntington's Francisco Periera, along with fourth-seeded Stephan Riley. At 119, the challengers will be all-county Adam Troy (WW), third-seeded Sean Messina (WI), Andy Rodriquez (Sayville), Adam Coleman (MPlace) and possible quarterfinal battle could see Mike Hromada (HillsEast) against Warren Murray. At 125 pounds, is second-seeded Joey Nunez (DP) who could advance to the finals and seek a rematch with Mashkow, who recently edged him, 6-5. In Division II at 125, is possible state champion Mike Castellano, already a three-time titlist, of John Glenn. The 130-pound class is loaded with quality matmen, Copiague's Chris LaPersonerie could meet Hoeg in the quarterfinals, whom he defeated earlier in the season, 2-1. Also to watch is Justin Giani (Hunt), Sayville's AJ Maier, second-seeded Rob Troy (WW), and an interesting first round bout, Anthony Bacchi (WI) vs Justin Nelson (SachN). Division II champion Louis Troisi of Mattituck is also at 130. The 135-pound class has cleared out for Jantzen, but other possible challengers are Greg Mazzola (Harb), Kevin Edward (Bayport) and #4 Will Fetcher (Longwood).  At 145, in the bottom bracket are Mike Haas (Say), Jake Hruby (Bell) and Paul Dilandro (WH) and tough opening bouts to follow are, Shawn Mazzarone (Say) vs Kyle Burnett (DP), along with Randy Marine (Cop) vs Nick Feraco (Comm). At 152, unbeaten Jim Kaden (28-0) of Whitman could meet Wade in the semi-finals, while perched in the bottom bracket are two other undefeated grapplers, DJ Locke (35-0) of Floyd and the aforementioned Swezey. The favorite in Division II is returning champion, Brendon Tyson of Center Moriches. In the 160-pound class, standouts are Ryan Murray (RPoint), Allan Hendrickson (Hunt), second-seeded Matt Berretta (ESM), and league champions, John Truscello (SN) and Joey Ferber (SachE). At 171, look for a possible semi-final clash betwen defending Suffolk champ Chris Gandolfi (Npt) and Riverhead's Hal Goodale, with the winner most likely to face Gee. A tough opening bout in the top bracket pits Nick Ferrara (KP) against Bay Shore's Jose Santana, also in the mix is fourth-seeded Larry LaRusso (25-2) of Rocky Point. In Division II, a wrestler to watch is Babylon's Matt Griffo. In the wide-open 189-pound class there are many possible champions, formidable challengers are second-seeded Stephen Yablonski (Mt.Sinai) who could face Lamar Washington (EI) in a semi-final, along with top bracket contenders, Ryan DiPaola (Islip) and Steve Kobus (Westhampton).
      At the
Nassau County Championships, the clear-cut favorite is East Meadow (20-4), who recently won their third dual-meet title and garnered six Qualifying champions en route to their tournament victory. The Jets will enter 14 quality grapplers and are led by county finalists, Tom Rispoli (32-3) at 135 and Sal Hanna (31-7, 16 pins) at 152. Other champs include Jim Pannullo (28-5) at 96, Dan O'Leary (31-5) at 140, Phil Thomas (18-4) at 171 and Frank Krayer at 215 pounds. Coaches Tom Reynolds and Ray Downey also have other possible placers with Corey Krimmer (30-5) at 112, Jim Mustakis (30-6) at 125 and Bob Abbate (26-6) at 135 pounds. Five other teams won their Qualifier and should have a close race for the runner-up spot, those squads are Plainedge, Long Beach, Syosset, Garden City and defending tournament champion, MacArthur. MacArthur has won five consecutive Nassau team titles and will send 18 matmen to the championships, they are led by Dan Mahoney (24-2) at 171 pounds and all-county Bill Klein at 189. Coach Howie Greenblatt and the Generals also have Sean Kempf (103), Brian Herold (125) and the Cataldo brothers, John (130) and Vito at 135 pounds. Plainedge has 18 county qualifiers and two potential county champions in Matt Rich (28-1) at 103 and tough Rocco Cervini (31-1) at 135 pounds. The Red Devils also have county finalist, junior Jesse Sgaglione (24-5) at 112, Evan O'Brien (23-5) at 145, and John Makastchian (25-4) at 160 pounds. Long Beach has the aforementioned Delgado and Gillespie, along with four Qualifying champions. Winning titles for the Marines was John Khourny (96), possible finalist Dane Davis (130), Tyler McBride (145) and Tim McCormack at 275 pounds. Syosset will send 14 wrestlers to the county meet and will be led by defending county champion Andrew Arnel (31-4) at 112, and his younger brother, Dan (26-2), a sophomore at 96 pounds. The Braves also have freshman Nick  Arujau (103), Brett Forman (125) and Eric Andonian at 215 pounds. Garden City will send a strong squad to the county meet and has county runner-up Dave Foxen (36-1, 120 wins) at 130 pounds and possible finalists, Luke Mitchell (35-1, 105 wins) at 189, along with junior Spencer DeSena at 215 pounds. The Trojans hope to improve on their tenth place team finish last season and also have Dan Lofrese (112) and Qualifying MOW winner, Connor Horl at 171 pounds. Other fringe teams are Massapequa, Bellmore JFK, Uniondale, Farmingdale, Island Trees, Wantagh, Herricks and Seaford. Massapequa will send 16 wrestlers to the county meet and have county champion junior Shane Strumwasser (21-1, 111 wins) at 125 and top-ranked Mike Doria (27-3), also a junior at 130 pounds. The Chiefs also point to Qualifying champion John Kaloust at 145, along with Eric Kaufman (103), Brendan Keys (130), Joshua Maddock (135) and Bryan Lally at 189 pounds. BJFK will be led by the Mills brothers, James (171) and Mike (189), along with Zach Cogen (112) and county medalist Mike Breman at 125 pounds. Uniondale has three potential finalists, Al Sterling (38-1) at 112, Junior Amazon (31-3) at 125 and Henoc Maurice (33-1) at 160, along with possible placer Charles Vailes (16-3) at 275.  Farmingdale points to county bronze medalist Justin Esposito at 112 and Paul Pavlatos (140), along with Luke Alber at 96, Greg Sands (152) and Thomas Jackson at 171 pounds. Island Trees has potential champion with Matt Eberlein at 119 and Kris Buhagiar at 171. Wantagh has the aforementioned Liguori, along with a pair of talented 119-pounders, Quimes DelaCruz and Steve Bonanno, along with all-county John Greishemer at 125 pounds. Herricks has the previously mentioned Jochym, along with standouts, James Flaherty (36-4, 106 wins) at 160 and Joe Venezia (22-4, 110 wins) at 171 pounds. Seaford will be led by the Fisher brothers, Brian (135) and Blake (145), along Kevin Bonilla (119), Corran Digney (152) and county medalist Nick Colantonio at 160 pounds. Other highly-touted individuals are state bronze medalist Mike Gomez (112) of Locust Valley in Division II, Calhoun's Mike Pagano (118 career wins) at 140, Keron Williams of Baldwin, also at 140, Jordan Spirou (160) of Clarke, Kadeem Lewis (215) of Westbury, and a pair of 275-pounders; Aaron Jamerson (Freeport) and Anthony Corbo of Port Washington.               Best Luck to all the wrestlers...