Lynbrook’s Matt Mott and Island Trees’ Tom Sinclair appeared to be headed for overtime once again.
The top two seeds in the Nassau Division I wrestling tournament at 220 pounds were locked in a tie as the seconds ticked down in the third period of the county title bout at Hofstra on Feb. 12. Then Sinclair, who lost 4-2 in OT to Mott earlier in the season, escaped for the decisive points with about 10 seconds remaining to win the rematch and championship by the identical score.
It was Mott’s only loss so far in the 2012-13 campaign after 33 straight wins, more than half of which were pins according to Owls coach Rich Renz. “Matt was unstoppable until the last match,” Renz said. “He may have been a little anxious and nervous, and it wasn’t one of his better matches. It’s disappointing, but he handled it with dignity and character.”
Despite the loss to Sinclair, who became the first county champion for Island Trees since 1988, Mott earned one of the tournament’s biggest awards. He picked up the Most Pins-Least Time honor after pinning each of his opponents in a combined time of 5-minutes, 20-seconds en route to the final. “Matt’s probably the best athlete I’ve coached in 23 years,” Renz said. “That’s saying a lot because we’ve had a lot of tremendous athletes come through here.”
Mott, who has earned All-County honors in three sports (football-wrestling-lacrosse) and is headed to Adelphi University on a lacrosse scholarship, isn’t done. He earned a wild-card spot in the New York State tournament this Friday and Saturday at Albany’s Times Union Center.
On the first day of the county tourney, Feb. 10, Mott pinned Long Beach’s Walter Ulloa in the second round as well as Massapequa’s Tim Duerr in the quarterfinals. Then in the semis, on the morning of Feb. 12, Mott pinned Wantagh’s T.J. Ragusa in 3:34.
“He’s a pin machine,” Renz explained. “He had three pins in the qualifier and three in the counties. I can’t say enough about the season he had. He never ran into any trouble until the last match.”
Mott also picked up the Most Pins-Least Time honor in the qualifier tournament he won at Syosset, with three in 5:24. After pinning his first two opponents in 38 seconds combined, he capped the daylong event by pinning Seaford’s Peter Bizzaro in 4:46.
The Owls had three others reach the finals of the qualifier. Matt Swanson at 99 pounds, Charlie Curcio at 132, and Anthony Salamone at 138. In addition, Anthony Arena took third at 132, Nick Mascia took third at 285, and Mike Miata grabbed fourth at 152. All advanced to the county tournament along with wild cards Jason Espinosa (182) and Chris Francia (195.)
Mascia found his way to the All-County podium with a sixth-place finish at Hofstra. He went 4-2, with two pins and two decisions.