Last month, six wrestlers from Lynbrook High School’s class of 2018 were honored at the annual Beckers Brothers awards, a ceremony that is a tradition dating back 60 years.
“This year we had a remarkable group of wrestlers that we are very proud of,” said Hilary Becker, head of the Lynbrook Titans Wrestling program. “Each of them has represented the Lynbrook wrestling family with great dignity and pride. They have excelled in the toughest sport.”
Lynbrook High School head coach Richie Renz beamed with excitement about the honorees.
“I’m extremely proud,” he said. “I’m very happy for all the boys. They’ve worked so hard.”
Sharing the Most Outstanding Wrestler award were Becker’s son, Joe, and Renz’s son, Matt. Joe Becker started wrestling when he was 5, and rose through the ranks over the years. He is a two-time All-County wrestler, and won the county championship as a junior. Matt Renz also achieved All-County honors twice and wrestled to a team-best 39-6 record this past year.
Tom Urena took home the Most Improved Wrestler award, while the Best Sportsmanship honor went to Justin Harvin. After being sidelined an entire season with an injury, Urena worked hard and returned to the mat this past season, wrestling his way to All-County honors. Harvin, meanwhile, was given his award not only for his performance, but for his character.
“He is very graceful on the mat,” Renz said of Harvin. “Whether he wins or loses, he shakes [his opponent’s] hand and gives him a smile.”
The Braveheart award was doled out to Garrett Handel, who wrestled through an injured finger to place second in the qualifiers and earn a spot in the county tournament. The final award, dubbed the Unsung Hero, was given to Matt Ferrante, a three-time All-County wrestler.
With the awards given out and graduation in hindsight, the six wrestlers will move on from Lynbrook High’s varsity wrestling team. Becker plans to continue his wrestling career at Castleton University, in Vermont, while Ferrante is off to Muhlenberg College, in Pennsylvania, on a wrestling scholarship. Wherever the wrestlers end up, however, Hilary Becker said he is confident that the experience they gained as part of the program will stay with them.
“Their wrestling experience, and the life lessons that they’ve learned, will stay with them for the rest of their lives,” Becker said. “I look forward to watching them achieve their dreams and goals.”