| TEAM SORIA
By Jim & Tony Nordland
On September 13, 1991, a miracle was born, actually two miracles were born - Maxwell and Michael Soria. They were born weighing slightly under two pounds and were born three months premature. The proud parents, Bob and Karen, were waiting for their first children to be born on their scheduled due date - December of that year.
During the late spring of 1991, Karen Soria was involved in a terrible accident, one in which she sustained two broken legs and multiple bruises throughout her body. It was at the hospital when she first discovered that she was soon to be a proud mother of two children. Unfortunately, due to the pregancy, the doctors could not perform the necessary surgery on her legs and she had to be casted during her term. At the Stony Brook Medical Center the doctors didn't think the twins had a chance of survival. Max was born first, and as Dad reminisced, "When Max was born, it was the the happiest moment of my life." A few minutes later, the team of doctors in the neonatal unit told him that Mike was born in distress and began preparing him for the worst. Miraculously, Michael pulled through and he, and his twin brother were placed in incubators for two months. As both Bob and Karen recalled, "That day took a lot out of us." In November, the proud parents were finally able to bring their boys home to suburban Kings Park, Long Island, New York.
The twins, Max and Mike, are "identical mirror twins" and basically do everything together. When they were young and began T-Ball, they were natural athletes. In Little League, Max was the starting pitcher and Mike was the reliever, together they were unbeatable. Another sport took their interest basketball- and again both excelled on the court. But they really found their niche with wrestling. The person that introduced them to the sport in 7th grade was their junior high coach, Bryan LoPalo and the boys' took an immediate liking to the one-on-one competition. Their high school mentor Jack Magnani continued their development and instructed them with college level manuevers at an early age. Bob Soria recalled, "Coach Magnani instilled honesty, humility, pride and dedication with my sons, he is one heckuva of a man and I can't thank him enough for what he has done."
As freshmen at Kings Park HS, the twins began competing in the lowest class; 96 pounds. They had instant success and began winning matches and tournaments throughout their careers, this is evidenced by the numerous wall charts that adorn their Kings Park household. Karen really enjoys watching her sons on the mat, but recently admitted, "I'm always so nervous when they wrestle." As juniors, the Sorias reached the pinnacle of the sport, as Mike captured the Suffolk County crown and then added a state title to his resume. Max was also an entrant at the state meet and due to some crazy bracketing was paired with his twin brother in the quarterfinal round. Max forfeited that bout and finished as a bronze medalist, collectively they went 9-1 in the state tournament, with the lone loss being the forfeit. Magnani, after nine years at the helm, had guided Mike to the gold medal and he became the first state champion in Kings Park history. Coach Magnani remembered that day and recalled, "When it was finally over it was such a relief."
Now seniors, Max and Mike have been competing in the 103 and 112 pound weight classes and have compiled an impressive 38-1 mark as a duo, the lone loss was suffered by Max at 112 to a state-ranked wrestler. Both will enter the season ending tournaments in the 103-pound class, When asked about the season's goals, Mike replied, "My goal this year is to meet my brother in the state finals." First-year coach Clark Crespi and coach Magnani will be monitoring their progress on their road to the state championship. Another coach that has shown interest in the twins is Ohio State mentor Tommy Ryan (formerly from Wantagh) and recently enjoyed a nice breakfast at the Soria home. Coach Ryan only recruits the best and quality kids. He honestly feels that the Sorias will be future NCAA 125-pounders for the Buckeyes.
As Dad noted, "Everything is regimented around the wrestling season, the road trips, the long 10 hour days, together we are "Team Soria", and for us it has been a way of life." The boys have done a lot for Kings Park wrestling and the community. He also added, "For little men they now have the respect of everyone in the town." Many people would agreed they also have earned the respect of everyone in the county and state. As we all know, miracles really do happen, and if you're not sure, just look at Max and Mike.