Deep in certain weight classes but inexperienced in others, Baldwin assistant wrestling coach Mike Janosko expects the Bruins to make noise in the Nassau County Tournament after finishing a solid 11th last season.
“The main thing we’re dealing with is many of our top kids are in the same weight class,” said Janosko, who assists head coach Jim Murphy. “That’s great for tournaments, but we can only spread them out so much in dual meets. We’ve had some great workouts in the room, and I think we’ll be a really strong tournament team by the end of the season,” he added.
Leading the way is senior Quinn Knauer, who fell one win shy of a county championship last winter. He picked up where he left off, winning the 138-pound title at the Bruins Cup Tournament in December capped by a 6-4 victory over Sachem East standout Conor O’Hara in the final.
“Quinn’s the best kid in the county at 138 in my opinion,” Janosko said. “He’s exceptional on his feet, powerful, and quick. He wrestles year-round and has a lot of experience.”
After falling one win shy of earning All-County (top six) status last season, returning qualifying champion Victor Robinson, a senior, heads a talented trio for Baldwin at 132 pounds. Robinson broke out of the gate quickly, finishing second in the Bruins Cup and winning the Terry Haise Tournament at Freeport. “He’s powerful, and especially tough on his feet,” Janosko said.
Seniors Enrique DeJesus and Ryan Brown will also be factors down the road in 132. Both were knocking on the door for All-County last season. DeJesus put in a ton of work during the offseason, Janosko said, and finished third in the Bruins Cup. Meanwhile, Brown was runner-up to Robinson in the Freeport event. “We’ll move things around to get those guys in dual meets as much as we can,” Janosko said.
At 113 pounds, senior Sal Trigona is off to a tremendous start as he looks to regain his form from two years ago when he impressed as a sophomore. He took third in each of the first two tournaments. “Sal’s focused and hungry,” Janosko said. “I expect him to be a factor.”
Flanking Trigona on each side of the lineup is freshman Ronaldo Escobar at 106, and senior John Crespo at 120. Crespo is one of the team’s most improved grapplers, Janosko said.
Juniors Sal Rodriguez and Chris Almenderez will split time at 145 pounds, but weight classes such as 171, 182, 189, 220, and 285 could go unfilled at times. “We’ve got kids, but they’re young,” Janosko said. “We’re not going to throw anyone into the fire right away. We’ll evaluate everyone as the season goes on.”
Janosko expects Baldwin to wrestle competitively against each of its Conference 1B foes — East Meadow, Hempstead, Hicksville, Oceanside and Plainview-JFK. “We’re all comparable,” he said. “We’ve got a nice senior crew and we’re looking for those guys to be leaders.”