NASSAU COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT PREVIEW
                    NASSAU COUNTY WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
                                        By Jim & Tony Nordland
                                           www.thematslap.com

    Look for a two-team race from start to finish, with defending team champion MacArthur, and their depth, and county runner-up Wantagh with their quality front-line performers, to battle throughout the two-day competition. Wantagh edged MacArthur, in an earlier season dual, 31-26, and both teams recently won their Qualifying Tournaments in impressive fashion. The Generals will send 22 wrestlers to the county meet and the Warriors have 20 qualifiers. Other top teams will be perennial power Massapequa, along with Plainedge, Uniondale, Long Beach, Seaford, Garden City, Syosset and East Meadow. The tournament starts on Friday, February 20th at 10:00 am, at the Davis S. Mack Sports Complex (Hofstra University). A quick glance at the weight classes:

96 Pounds-Thomas Manning (19-3) of MacArthur edged Will Montgomery (22-2) of Seaford in their Qualifier final and could meet again for the county crown. They are seeded #1 and #2, respectively. Another potential finalist is Wantagh's Joe Barbato (27-5), all three are sophomores and returning All-County performers. Interesting early round bout has Barbato against MacArthur's other fine lightweight, freshman Kevin Herold. Others that will be in the mix, are Mark Ragunandan (Long Beach), 8th-grader Dan Jones (Garden City), Vinny Panullo (East Meadow), Andrew Haft (Plainview), Eric Faimon (Syosset) and freshman Stephen Nessler (9-5) of Baldwin.

103 Pounds-County runner-up senior Alex Grant (22-4) of MacArthur is the slight favorite here and one of his challengers will be teammate Chris Perez (24-2). Also to watch are Qualifying winners Marvin Amazon (Uniondale), freshman Rudy Lanzilotta (Massapequa), along with Joe Maher (BJFK), Austin Valenti (11-7) of Baldwin, Orel Allen (Long Beach) and Scott Rubin (Calhoun). 

112 Pounds-Unbeaten senior Sean Kempf (32-0) of MacArthur is top-seeded and currently #1 ranked in the state, he is the prohibitve favorite in this talented weight class. Looking to reach the finals against him will be returning Nassau champion, freshman Mike Lofrese (Garden City) or county finalist Anthony Facchini (24-4) of Seaford. Other standouts are Vin Salmamone (Lynbrook), Tiago Pereria (Clarke), John Pellegrino (Levittown Division), sophomore Joe Harris (Massapequa), Dylan Cohen (17-13) of Baldwin and county medalist Anthony Locust (20-5) of Seaford.

119 Pounds-A wide open weight class with only one returning county placer, Luke Alber (26-6) of  Farmingdale, is seeded second and who hopes to improve on his third-place finish at the 2008 county meet. Potential finalists are freshman and #1 rated, Dylan Palacio (Long Beach), Nick Falco (East Meadow) and Vingh Singh of Herricks. Others to watch are Matt Schmelzinger (Garden City), Christian Toscano (Bethpage), Mike Leonard (Clarke), Alex Locke (Syosset) and third rated Joe Cusimano (28-4), a junior from Plainedge.

125 Pounds-Reigning state champion Nick Arujau (27-0, 132-7) of Syosset will be tough to defeat. His top opponents should be county bronze medalist Mike Walker (Uniondale) and All-County Gary Kavarsky (Lawrence). Also to vie for medals will be Vincent Andriotti (Farmingdale) and John Khoury (Long Beach). 

130 Pounds-Kelly Palmer (Clarke) is the lone county placer here but will face some formidable foes in this well balanced class. Top seeded Nick Fitzmaurice (Wantagh) will face a host of top challengers such as, Ariel Guerrero (32-5) of MacArthur and Dan LoFrese of Garden City. Lynbrook senior Tom Liguori, the OSW winner at his Qualifier will also be in the hunt, along with fourth-seeded Mike Snow of BJFK.

135 Pounds-Two-time state king and three-time NYS placer Paul Liguori (33-2, 23 pins, 207-15 career mark) of Wantagh, is on track to claim his fourth county crown and is the strong favorite. Potential finalists are highly-regarded Steve Spurgeon (26-2) of Plainedge, Frank Mederios (23-5) of MacArthur and senior Anthony Evangelista (25-4) of Massapequa. Other top prospects are Joe Chioffitella (Calhoun), Donnell East (Uniondale), Jericho junior Mike Tucillo and Adam D'Auguste (Long Beach).

140 Pounds-Wantagh's Quimes Delacruz (27-1) drew the top seed and hopes to improve on his fourth-place county finish. County finalist Matt Eberlein (29-1), a senior from Island Trees, is second-seeded and is highly-touted in both the county and state. Looking to reach the finals will be county runner-up Andre Berry (Uniondale), who might face Delacruz in a tough semifinal bout. County placer Rob Mancino (East Meadow) seeks redemption from the 2008 county meet. Others to watch are Vin Coiro (MacArthur) and Nick Fera of Manhasset.

145 Pounds-Three All-County matmen will challenge for the county crown, qualifier OSW and top-seeded Brian Herold (35-3) of MacArthur, Germain Meza (Bethpage) and Mac Maldarelli (Calhoun). Baldwin senior, third-seeded Gerard Quinn (32-2) is another strong contender, along with Tyler Dunne (23-9) of MacArthur, Brandon Gustafeste (Syosset), Tom Shaw (North Shore), Andy Ayala (Long Beach) and Mark Ortiz of Farmingdale. Tough quarterfinal match could pit Quinn vs Maldarelli, with the winner to face Meza in a semifinal bout.

152 Pounds-Defending state champion John Greisheimer (34-0, 24 pins, 172-14) of Wantagh is top-ranked in the state and is seeking his second state title. Possible finals foe could be senior Troy Sterling of Uniondale. Also to watch are Peter Curcio (Lynbrook) and Massapequa teammates, Josh Maddock and Eric Kaufman, along with Dan Sutherland of Mepham.

160 Pounds-The top rated wrestler here is junior Joe Chamish of Jericho. Top opponents include county place-winner Robert Grabher (North Shore), Brandon Mulholland (27-3) of MacArthur and junior Guy Macchia (28-7) of Syosset. Others to watch are Anthony Minnici (25-5) of Plainedge, tough James Ondris (Massapequa), Rocco Calderaro (East Meadow) and Kyle Cohen (31-9) of Baldwin.

171 Pounds-All-County performer Thomas Jackson (26-2) of Farmingdale is top-rated and the slight favorite in this very competitive weight class. Returning county bronze medalist sophomore John Daddino (Sewanhaka East) won his Qualifier Tournament and was voted the OSW Award. He defeated county finalist Joe Kavanaugh (29-4), a sophomore from  Wantagh, in that final, and both could meet in a championship re-match. Daddino is second seeded and could face formidable opponents such as Sebastian Randazzo (Syosset) and Joe Giametta (25-6) of MacArthur. Plainedge senior Nick Camera (28-3) is another challenger, along with Ismael Sorto (Westbury) and Rob Seckler (Massapequa).

189 Pounds-Junior Matt Loew (32-0, 17 pins, 112-32, 56 career falls) of Wantagh has the inside track in this weight class, and hopes to improve on his county runner-up finish from 2008. His top challengers will be Vito Basso (East Meadow), Kevin Gardvits (Glen Cove), Alex Todd (Calhoun), sophomore and #2 ranked, Conor Wetzel of Massapequa, along with Long Beach teammates, Eric Walordy and Vincent Hall.

215 Pounds-This weight is wide-open, as no returning county placers are here, but a solid group of Qualifying champions that will vie for the gold medal.The slight favorite is junior Connor Horl (Garden City), who is top-seeded. Possible finals opponent could be Dan Danzinger (East Meadow) or sophomore Thomas Hall (20-5) of Wantagh. Other top challengers are Dan Nicolino (Island Trees) and Anthony Sylvester (Uniondale), along with Mike O'Brien (Port Washington), Oliver Astone (Long Beach) and Alex Hoffman of Massapequa.

285 Pounds-A myriad of talented matmen are in the heavyweight field including state-ranked senior Chris Williams of Syosset. Returning county medalists Yaseen Madassar (Levittown Division) and junior David Agu (Freeport) will also vie for the championship, as well as solid contenders, Joe Grieci (22-5) of Plainedge and Joe Devonellis (North Shore). Other possible placers are Andrew Rollo (Clarke), John Tenny (Farmingdale) and Paul Zbikowski of Island Trees.

Mat Notes...
  
Three fringe teams will send a stable of talented matmen to the tournament, Massapequa, Plainedge and Uniondale, all have 18 qualifiers in the county meet. There are four defending Nassau champions and 34 returning place-winners in the championships. MacArthur won their 7th team title last year under the tutelage of veteran coach, Howie Greenblatt, now in his 23rd season at the helm. The last time Wantagh won the county title was in 1968. Best of Luck to all the wrestlers and enjoy your championships...