With a roster loaded with sophomores and freshmen, Lynbrook wrestling coach Rich Renz is counting on four senior captains to set the tone for the Owls this season.
“We’ve got a lot of talented young kids,” Renz said. “I think we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with in another year or two. This year will be a learning experience for most, but we’ve got some seniors looking to go out with a bang.”
Senior captains Matt Mott (220 pounds) and Charlie Curcio (132) are off to strong starts, and senior captains Jon Lollar (138) and Jason Espinosa (182) aren’t too far behind.
Mott is ranked No. 1 in Nassau County in his weight class after an impressive December that included titles in the Battle at the Beach and South Side tournaments. A qualifying tournament champ last season, Mott’s bid for a spot on the All-County podium (top six) was derailed by a hand injury. “Matt’s very focused and working extremely hard,” Renz said. “He’s a three-sport athlete who’s physically and mentally tough.”
Mott pinned Clarke’s Enndy Nunez in the finals of the Battle at the Beach Tournament, which was hosted by the Owls on the first day of December since Long Beach’s facility was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Mott came back two weeks later to defeat Thomas Sinclair of Island Trees, 4-2 in overtime, to capture the South Side Tournament. Sinclair was a county runner-up last winter.
Curcio, who has All-County aspirations as well, finished second in both December tournaments and will also be a key to Lynbrook’s dual meet lineup. “Charlie’s got as much heart as anyone,” Renz said. “Opponents have their hands full with him. He never lets up.”
Lollar, strong and muscular for his weight, is a candidate to qualify for the county tournament, Renz said. “When Jon locks someone up, it’s almost impossible for them to get out,” the coach noted. “He’s real strong for his size.”
Espinosa’s work ethic is as good as anyone’s, Renz said, and his unorthodox style gives him a chance to win every time he steps on the mat. “He can flip the momentum of a match in an instant,” Renz said.
Andrew Tappetto, at 170, and Chris Francia, at 195, head Lynbrook’s short list of juniors that includes Dan Verhey and Andrew Ferrall. Tappetto placed in the Battle at the Beach event, while Francia won three of his first four matches after returning from injury.
The Owls feature a slew of young guns, including eighth-grader Matt Swanson at 99 pounds. A tremendous technical wrestler who competes year-round, he pinned his first two varsity opponents after going unbeaten in JV bouts. The rest of the lineup is all sophomores and freshmen. Mike Vogt and Zach Khan split time at 106, Matt Ligouri fills 113, Anthony Arena backs Curcio at 132, Anthony Salamone backs Lollar at 138, Frank Capobianco is at 145, Mike Miata and Frank Candreva compete at 152, Feroz Quereshi goes at 160, David McCarthy backs Espinosa at 182, Steve Rossetti is at 195, and Steve Barbato at 285.