By Jim & Tony Nordland

     The team race at the 2012 Robert "Doc" Fallot Suffolk Championships should be amongst five top teams. Defending team champion
Longwood will need top performances from their trio of state place-winners; Malik Rasheed (138), Corey Rasheed (28-2) and junior Nick Hall (28-2), the second seed at 152 pounds.The Lions also have Anthony D'onofrio (106), Eddie Jennings (160) and second-rated Dylen Seybolt (27-3) at 170 pounds.

Brentwood won the League I dual and tournament titles and have two potential champions with top-seeded Eric Orellana (34-2) at 113 and Alexis Blanco (41-1) at 138, along with league champion and fourth-seeded Carlos Toribio (37-4) at 160. The Indians also have firepower with three other League I titlists; Danny Murray (99), BJ Jackson (120) and tough Marc Gonzalez (126) and four other finalists, including Diego Ramirez at 132 pounds.

Sachem East won the League II dual and added the tournament crowns to their ledger on the season. They crowned five champions and have many potential placers that could push the Flaming Arrows to the top of the standings. Second-seeded Anthony Pistone and teammate Billy Merone are two quality 145-pounders and Christian Nunez (24-2) is fourth-seeded at 195 pounds. Also to watch are league champions Jackson Mordente (138), Mark Tracy (152), sixth-seeded Zach Nobre, along with freshman Jakob Restrepo (120) and 2010 Suffolk finalist Conor O'Hara at 126 pounds.

Connetquot also had five league champions including All-State performer Sean McCabe (32-1, 180-13 career) at 120 and county placers Steven Bulzomi (31-3) at 113 and Joey Gates (31-4) at 132, along with unbeaten and top-seeded Kenny Drew (31-0) at 220 pounds. Also claiming a league title was senior Shaun Gillen (31-2), the third-seed at 160. Other standouts for the T-Birds include league finalists; Eddie Hart (106), Brendan Dent (126) and Greg Chery at 145 pounds.

Hauppauge won the League IV tournament championship and crowned seven individual champions. The Eagles  are paced by 2010 state champion Mark West (120) and the Mauriello brothers; Chris, an 8th-grader at 113 and senior Nick (36-2), the second-seed at 132 pounds. Other league winners were  tough Sam Schwartzapfel (138),Tyler Williamson (152), Jake Cherkis (195) and Mike Rutigliano at 285 pounds.

     Other  teams that will challenge for a
Top Ten team finish are Islip, Shoreham-Wading River, Hills West, Eastport-South Manor, John Glenn, Sachem North and Kings Park.

A quick glance at some of the weight classes:

106 pounds-
Returning county champion and state bronze medalist Nick Piccininni (37-0) of Ward Melville is top-seeded and ranked #1 in the state. Potential finalist opponent could be second-seeded Andrew Roden (KP) or Longwood's Anthony D'onofrio, they could meet in the quarterfinals. Also in the lower bracket and another possible quarterfinal bout could pit third-seeded Mike Figueroa (CI) against all-county Mike D'Angelo (37-2) of Commack.

120 pounds- This loaded weight class has top-seeded Sean McCabe (32-1) of Connetquot who hopes to return to the state meet and improve on this third-place finish. Looming in the upper bracket is junior and two-time county medalist Matt Leshinger (35-5) of Sayville, they could meet in a quarterfinal battle. Also in the upper bracket is former state king Mark West (31-4) of Hauppauge. Drawing the second seed was Travis Passaro (41-4) of ESM, possible semi-final opponent could be third-seeded SWR's TJ Fabian (40-3) or Jakob Restrepo (26-1) of Sach East. Probable wild card entrants in this class.

132 pounds- The top seed here is freshman Tommy Dutton ( 44-1) of Rocky Point. Top tier opponents could be Diego Ramirez (Brentwood) or fourth-seeded Joey Gates (Connetquot). Second-seeded Nick Mauriello (35-2) of Hauppauge could face Glenn's Tommy Sewell in the quarterfinals. Also in the bottom bracket is third- seeded Eddie Gomez (31-2) of Pat-Med and 2011county runner-up Chris Powers of Mt. Sinai.

138 pounds- This weight could hold the OSW winner. State finalist James Dekrone (37-3) of John Glenn is top-seeded and has some talented top tier contenders to get through. Top bracket hopefuls include Zach Lugo (Deer Park), Luke Outcalt (SmEast) and possible semi-final opponent Alexis Blanco of Brentwood. Second-seeded Malik Rasheed (Longwood) has traded wins with the aforementioned Blanco in the past week but has some talented grapplers lodged in the lower bracket. Tough opening bout has Sayville's Lucas Ciancimino meeting Jackson Mordente (SachEast), that winner could meet third-seeded Sam Schwartzapfel (35-2) of Hauppauge in the quarterfinals.

Other top seeds:
99-Joe Calderone (Walt Whitman)
113-Eric Orellana (Brentwood)
126-Maverick Passaro (ESM)
145-Corey Rasheed (Longwood)
152-John Keck (SWR)
160-Tyler Grimaldi (HillsWest)
170-Joe Piccolo(HillsWest)
182-Gio Santiago (SachNorth)
195-Zac Conner (Islip)
220-Kenny Drew (Connetquot)
285-Michael Hughes (SmithWest)

     In the
Division II Tournament look for a close team race between two-time defending champion Bayport-Blue Point, Center Moriches and Mattituck.The BBP Phantoms have two-time titlist junior Ryan Hake (26-6) at 132 and returning champion Justin Underwood at 120. Center Moriches has reigning champion Michael Menzer (106) and Travis Baskerville (21-1) at 160. The other returning winner is Tomasz Filipowski of Mattituck at 170 pounds.  Other top teams include Port Jefferson, Babylon and Hampton Bays.

Mat Notes...
The Suffolk County Championships are scheduled to begin on Friday, Feb. 10th @ Stony Brook University. The schedule is as follows:
   10:00 AM - Preliminaries
     2:30 PM - Quarterfinals
     5:30 PM - Wrestlebacks

Saturday, Feb. 11th :
   9:30 AM - Semi-Finals - Both Division I and II
11:30 AM - Consolations and Placing Rounds
  3:30 PM - Division II Championship Finals
  6:30 PM - Division I Championship Finals

       Congratulations to all the competitors, enjoy your Suffolk
                  County Championships, win or lose...                                  
Suffolk's top-seeded 113 pounder, Eric Orellana from Brentwood.
Hauppauge's Nick Mauriello, League Four champ at 132 pounds, works for a fall.
Longwood's Nick Hall (152)
Sachem East's Anthony Pistone battles teammate Billy Merone (145).
Ward Melville's Nick Piccininni (106).
Connetquot's Sean McCabe (120).
Glenn's James Dekrone (138).
ESM's Maverick Passaro (126).
Bayport's Ryan Hake (132).