|SUFFOLK COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW|
| SUFFOLK COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW
By Jim & Tony Nordland
The team race at the 2009 Doc Fallot Memorial Suffolk County Championships should be among John Glenn, Hauppauge and Longwood. All three teams send a stable of quality wrestlers to the tournament. Other teams to watch are defending Suffolk champion and League I Tournament winner Brentwood, along with East Islip, Rocky Point, Connetquot, Sachem North, Islip, Huntington, Sachem East and Shoreham-Wading River. A quick look at the Division I weight classes:
96 Pounds-The favorite here is unbeaten 7th-grader Corey Rasheed (29-0) of Longwood and he will most likely face either Max Soria (Kings Park) or Ken Massa (John Glenn) in the semifinals. His top challenger is freshman Nick Mauriello (28-1) of Hauppauge, also lodged in that bracket is Mike Soria (Kings Park), Zach Lugo (Deer Park), TJ Fabian (SWR), Justin Gneiser (Northport) and Sachem East teammates, Conor O'Hara and Mark Florian.
103 Pounds-Defending Suffolk champion and state bronze medalist Damon McQueen (29-0) of Huntington is top-seeded and will be tough to defeat. His top tier opponents are League II OSW winner Allan Gomez (Central Islip), David Chaverra (Brentwood), Will Mazzone (Ward Melville) and league champion John Keck (SWR). Possible finalists are Longwood's 8th-grader Malik Rasheed, All-County Sean McCabe (Connetquot) and Conner Bass (Westhampton), along with league winner Rob Berkowitz (West Babylon).
112 Pounds-Hauppauge's reigning state champion Ken Collado (28-3, 116-20) is the number one ranked wrestler in this loaded
weight class. Possible quarterfinal bout could be
with county medalist Nicky Hall (Longwood).
Other top bracket contenders are Anthony Abidin
(4th seeded) of Hills East, Humberto Garcia
(Brentwood), James Dekrone (John Glenn) and
Vin Punzone (Walt Whitman). The bottom
bracket has a myriad of quality wrestlers,
including Pete DeTore (Westhampton Beach),
county finalist Matt Ross (Rocky Point) and
tough Dan Gray (Ward Melville). A tough
opening bout has Huntington's Nigel McNeil (33-1) pitted against league champion Eric Wiener (Deer Park), with that winner to face Gray in a quarterfinal battle. Look for the OSW winner to come from this talented group.
119 Pounds-Two-time state place-winner and 2007 state king, Steven Keith (37-0, 172-15) of SWR is one of Suffolk's best
wrestlers and is on track for another state title. Top
tier challengers are county placer Adam Lepkowsy
(Hauppauge), Akeam Tyrell (Copiague) and Jeff
Snair (Kings Park). Tough opening bout has Casey
Brice (Longwood) against James McCabe
(Connetquot). In the bottom bracket is second-
seeded sophomore Alex Gomez (30-2) of
Brentwood, along with Anthony Powers (Mt.Sinai),
League III champion Nick Ventiere (East Islip)
and Matt Gannon (John Glenn), who meets Troy
Mashkow (Islip) in the prelims. Probable
championship clash with Keith vs Gomez in a classic final.
125 Pounds-Top rated here is county runner-up Nick Meinsen (27-0) of John Glenn who lost in overtime to the aforementioned Collado last year. Possible top bracket opponents are James Cameron (Connetquot), league OSW winner Matt Genchi (Hills East) or Jimmy Russell (Patchogue-Medford). Looking to reach the finals are #2 Andrew Colamussi (30-1) of Harborfields, but he must passed a group of formidable foes, including Rob Rossi (East Islip), along with three-All-County stars, Nick Scotto (Ward Melville), Tyler Sinisgalli (John Glenn) and Rob Troy of Walt Whitman.
130 Pounds-Sophomore and third-place county finisher Kyle Wade (30-1) of Islip is the top seed and should emerge from the top bracket. Possible quarterfinal opponent is Jon Hoeg (Mt. Sinai) along with other top tier contenders, James Corsitto (Connetquot) and League I OSW winner Dan O'Malley (Sachem East). Second-seeded Mike Piro (Sachem North) should face Longwood's Pat Jennings in a tough quarterfinal match-up, and that winner to face either Matt Fusaro (John Glenn), Omar Santiago (Huntington) or Travis Calderon (Brentwood) in the semifinals.
135 Pounds-Two-time county champion and state placer Stephen Dutton (38-0) is the prohibitive favorite and should claim his third county crown. Possible top bracket opponents are Connor Gribbin (Connetquot), Mark Jerrick (Amityville) or Sean O'Malley (Sachem East). Riverhead junior Edwin Perry of Riverhead is the second seed and a possible finalist, along with Jesse Marro (Hauppauge), Alex Brown (East Islip), or the winner of the Travis Pitre (Sayville) vs Mario Calderon (Brentwood) opening bout.
140 Pounds-Returning champion Andy Rodriguez (34-1), a junior from Central Islip and a 4th place finisher at the state meet is the slight favorite here, but must get passed tough Kevin Panebianco (34-3) of Hauppauge, Mike Schruhl (Sachem East) or Ryan Connell (Mattituck) in the bottom bracket. Top-seeded and unbeaten Nick Terdick (32-0) of John Glenn hopes to improve on his third place county finish. Upper brackets contenders are Louis Esposito (Kings Park) and League I champion Mike Hartman (William Floyd). Most likely Rodriguez vs Terdick in an intriguing final, with the winner to get a seed at the state meet and the runner-up a wild card berth.
145 Pounds-Three county place-winners head the field here, including second seeded Anthony Volpe (33-3) of Rocky Point and Jermaine Jacobs (Amityville) who are lodged in the bottom bracket, along with Commack's Kyle Van Gelder (Commack) and Joe LaSala (Sachem North). Top-rated Dan Gorman (Northport) must contend with the other returning county placer, Rich Lugo (Deer Park), Tyler Conway (East Islip) and John Glenn's Mike Bosco in the top tier of the bracket.
152 Pounds-A wide-open weight class, as there aren't any returning county place-winners, but a plethora of league champions that will be in the hunt for a county title. The top seed here is Anthony Crivello (Northport) who could face Mike Powers (Mt.Sinai) in the quarterfinals. Also in the upper bracket is League I standout Jon Goulding of William Floyd. The bottom bracket has #2 Chris Carlucci (John Glenn), tough Jesse Cabrera (Brentwood), Riverhead's Ryan Rheame and League V winner Matt Egan (16-3) of Islip.
160 Pounds-Senior Billy Coggins (37-2) of Rocky Point drew the top seed and will have to contend with Ryan Cummings (30-2) of Bay Shore, Chris Dilorio (Sachem East) and Ty Morrison (Copiague), as possible semifinal opponents. State wild card entrant and placer, TJ Neidhardt (SWR) is the second seed and looks to make it back to the county final. His challengers will be tough Louis Puca (Huntington), Chanse Menendez (Hauppauge) and League II titlist Rick Nardelli of Northport.
171 Pounds-Unbeaten senior Josue Mendez (33-0) of Brentwood looks to garner his second Suffolk crown and hopes to improve on his sixth place finish at the 2008 state meet. Top bracket opponents could be Kyle Phillips (Harborfields), Joe Cannone (Islip) or league champions Nick Arma (East Islip) and Frank Speights of West Babylon. League V winner Anthony Lupi (31-4) of Huntington is second seeded and could face either All-County William Parks (Longwood), Justin Constantatos (Commack) or Sean Heaney (Mattituck) in a semi-final battle.
189 Pounds- Defending Suffolk champion and state placer, Zach Buonaiuto (37-1) of Miller Place, is the top seed and favorite in this class, his lone setback this season was to state champion Austin Meys (Shenendehowa) in the finals of the Eastern States. His top tier rivals are Jake Smith (Smithtown West), William Floyd's Marcus Muelthaler and Adrian Mack of Bay Shore. West Babylon's Marvin Titus-Casseus is a returning county medalist and is seeded second, he will most likely face the winner of the Joe Pellegrino (Connetquot) and Corey Best (Mattituck) match, en route to the finals. Look for a battle in the title bout with Buonaiuto-Titus Casseus.
215 Pounds-County finalist Ernest James (Longwood) is top rated and should reach the finals for the second consecutive year. His top bracket contenders are Joe Bilello (Deer Park), Mason Burgess (Harborfields) and Corey Schweitzer (SWR). Lodged in the bottom bracket are Kevin Cassidy (Smithtown East), Rocco DeForca (Commack), and unbeaten senior Eric Wooley (29-0) of Hauppauge. Look for a James vs Wooley championship final.
285 Pounds-The lone All-County place-winner here is Scott Munro (23-1) of Hauppauge, he is situated in the bottom bracket and should face second seeded Andrew Slawson (East Islip) in the quarterfinals. A tough opening bout in that bracket will pit League II winner Nick Ciafone (Sachem North) against Longwood's Ben Lee, also to watch is that talented lower bracket is highly-touted John Wilkinson (West Babylon). The top rated wrestler here is junior Sean Walsh of Lindenhurst, and his upper bracket challengers are League V champion Cody Hinrichs (21-2) of Islip and Brian Slattery of Mt.Sinai.
There are 34 returning All-County wrestlers in the tournament including two NYS titlists and seven defending Suffolk champions. Section Eleven had 16 state place-winners at the 2008 state meet and has crowned 129 NYS champions, along with 16 sectional team titles. Look for another strong contingent from the blue-clad squad at the 47th annual New York State Intersectional Championships in Albany.
Best of Luck to all the wrestlers...