Mepham not only captured the team championship at the annual Sprig Gardner Wrestling Tournament with 308 points — 60.5 more than runner-up Brooklyn Tech — in early December, that also featured district rivals Kennedy (third place, 211 points) and Calhoun (seventh, 122), the Pirates swept the individual awards.
Mepham senior Tom Mauro, a 132-pounder who racked up 24 pins among his 25 wins last season, had the most pins in the least amount of time at the Sprig Gardner, racking up four in a total of just 5:41 on the mat. Classmate Dan Tracy, a returning All-County Champion, was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler, while junior Louis Hernandez (152 pounds), also a returning County Champ, was named the Mepham Alumni Outstanding Wrestler.
“Some of the guys have been in the program for three, four, five years,” Pirates coach Rich Anderson said, noting his team finished among the Top 10 in Nassau County last season. “It’s like a well-oiled machine with the kids knowing what we expect.”
Mepham had six individual champions crowned in all over the annual two-day tournament battled on both the Pirates and Colts home mats. Sophomore Joel Zambrano took the title at 99 pounds, senior Tyler Clougher finished first at 160 pounds with a 7-4 overtime victory, and senior Steven Lambert took a 16-5 decision in the finals at 182 pounds, joining Mauro, Tracy and Hernandez in the Winners’ Circle. Senior Jamie Dunn, a returning All-County performer, took second at 106 pounds, as did junior Matt Assael at 145 pounds, who dropped a 9-0 decision to Kennedy senior Rich Luxmore, in the 145-pound finals.
The Cougars other champion, senior Robert Person (120 pounds), is no stranger to coming out on top. Already the all-time winningest wrestler in Kennedy history (149 career victories, including a 12-0 mark this season), he won his fifth Sprig Gardner title. “He’s only the second five-time winner [at the tournament] since 1975 so that’s a pretty big deal,” his coach, Brian DeGaetano said.
Senior Tyler Smith was second at 120, and sophomore Danny Arkow grabbed second at 138 pounds. Sophomore Aydin Kessler finished third at 182 pounds. Junior Ben Sather (106 pounds), named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Kennedy Hall of Fame Duals on Dec. 1, earned fourth place at the Sprig.
For Calhoun, which also returns a healthy amount of veterans, junior Willie Jutt (113 pounds), senior Dan Tripiccione (220) and returning All County performer Jenard Rosemond (285), also a senior, earned second-place honors. Rosemond, normally a 220-pounder, finished with a 35-8 mark last season and racked up 25 wins by pin. “He’s very technical for a big guy,” Colts coach Steven Romano said. “He’s got good technique and knows a lot of moves.”
Senior Julian Arroyo, a 138/145-pounder who missed almost all of last season due to injury, has jumped out of the gates with a pair of third-place finishes and a second-place finish in the Colts three tournaments so far. Sophomore Anthony Fitzsimmons (170 pounds), the team’s Most Improved Wrestler last season, won his weight class at the Ralph Jansson Tournament at Valley Stream North on Dec. 15, though the lineup lost a key contributor when his twin brother, Thomas, went down with an injury. Junior Dylan Goldstein has also placed in each tournament. Classmate Chris Johnson, like Goldstein, was thrown into the fire as a sophomore, but has started strong in 2012. At 126 pounds, senior Austin Hecker continues to lead by example.