Long Beach thrives at county championships


Despite finishing without a county champion for the first time in more than a decade, Long Beach made plenty of noise at the Nassau Division 1 wrestling tournament last weekend at a jam-packed LIU Post.

Seven Marines earned All-County status, two more than last season and second behind Massapequa’s 11, leading the squad to fourth place in the team standings behind the dominant Chiefs, Wantagh and Uniondale.

“I’m pleased with everything we accomplished and looking forward to the future,” Long Beach coach Ray Adams said. “The kids worked extremely hard and did a great job.”

Sophomores Jeremiah Echeverria (106 pounds) and Max Maquet (138) both reached the finals of their respective brackets before running into top-ranked juggernauts.

Echeverria, who was dominant in four matches leading up to a loss to defending county champ Chase Liardi of Massapequa in the title bout, could receive a wild-card spot in the state tournament at Albany’s Times Union Center on Feb. 22-23. He has a record of 32-5. “Jeremiah had bonus points in all of his matches prior to the finals,” Adams said. “Liardi was second in the state last season and is a tough egg to crack.”

Maquet, who racked up 38 wins, came up short in the finals against undefeated Kyle Althenn of Mepham. After pinning a strong Justin Marine of Oceanside in the quarterfinals, Maquet avenged an early season loss to Plainview’s Max Yahre with a 6-0 decision in the semis. “I thought Max wrestled a great tournament,” Adams said. “He got payback against a kid who beat him a few months ago.”

Senior captain Dylan Martinsen (145) and sophomore Kevin Lopez (99) led the Marines at the county tournament with five wins apiece on the way to third-place finishes. Senior Scott Defex took fifth at 182, while junior Wally Sofield (120) and freshman Jafet Velasquez (106) placed sixth.

Martinsen, who was All-County last winter as well, reached the semifinals with three dominant wins. He opened with a pin of Mepham’s Nick Azzariti, knocked off Sewanhaka East’s William Abrams, 10-3, in the second round, and won an 11-1 major decision over MacArthur’s Louis Calone in the quarterfinals. “Dylan was upset after losing in the semifinals, but to his credit he came back under rough circumstances and won what I felt was his toughest match of the season in wrestlebacks,” said Adams, referring to Martinsen’s 4-2 decision over Baldwin’s Jahlil Treasure.

Lopez also put a difficult loss in the rearview mirror and rolled out four straight victories, including a pair of pins. “One of the things we pride ourselves in at Long Beach is showing mental toughness after a loss,” Adams explained. “Kevin did just that and stayed focused. Sometimes, it’s easy to go in the tank.”

Defex, in only his second season competing in the sport, recorded three pins on the weekend. Sofield made a dynamic run to the semis, highlighted by a 6-4 first-round upset of Port Washington’s Matt Castillo, who pinned him twice earlier in the season.