With the second smallest school in the “big school” conference, the North Shore Vikings finished 10th as a team in Nassau County and fielded four All-County wrestlers by championship night’s end last Sunday at LIU Post.
“Our goal was to finish within the top eight at counties this year, we were six points shy of that,” North Shore coach Mike Emmert said. “We also wanted to get at least four guys to the podium, so we accomplished that, but we felt on a good day we could’ve gotten six up there.”
Of North Shore’s four All-County wrestlers, its most in school history, Antonio George finished fourth at 113 pounds, losing to Sean Wang of Great Neck South in a close 2-1 match. “He wrestled well but it would have been nice for him to grab third to have that shot as a wild card bid to go to states,” Emmert said.
Michael DerGarabedian finished 5th at 145 pounds, winning his last match of the tournament 20-12. Emmert said he saw the passion and emotion radiate from DerGarabedian in his way back up in the wrestleback rounds. “He went up the #2 seed Scutellaro of Massapequa in the quarterfinals and it was a tough match, but he came off the mat with his head up knowing what he had to do in wrestlebacks,” Emmert said. “He came back and tech’d (win via technical fall) two guys and beat a good wrestler to secure All-County. The excitement on his face getting that monkey off his back and that career milestone was great to see.”
Michael Bianchi (152 pounds) lost a close match in his 5th/6th place matchup but still secured his place on the podium. Bianchi had an exciting OT matchup in the quarterfinals that ended in a 6-5 loss but worked his way through wrestlebacks going 2-2 on that side of the bracket.
Stephen Grabher finished second, losing in the county championship to South Side’s Kyle Mosher. Grabher earned himself All-County honors and a wild-card bid to the state tournament. “We believe Grabher could have been the Nassau County champ at 170, but his ultimate goal was to make it to the state tournament and he accomplished that at 160,” Emmert said.
Grabher was successful at beating everyone on his way to the county championship, including teammate and good friend Christian Milo. Milo, one of the senior captains for North Shore, finished one match shy of All-County honors. “Christian has been a great asset and a great leader for us,” Emmert said. “He and Grabher wrestled each other in the quarterfinals and whoever won was going to be upset for the other guy. Milo wrestled great and we were really hoping to see him up there on the podium.” Grabher and Milo both have been successful in winning each tournament they have been in this year.
Danny Costello and Phil D’Amico both got off to slow starts and were unable to work their way back in wrestlebacks, but were All-County hopefuls for North Shore.
“They brought it everyday and they’re a tight knit group of friends. That is important,” Emmert said. “When you have all the guys and parents wait for the very last guy to wrestle, you know that this is a real team.”