Mepham's Hernandez, Kennedy's Person bring home prize

Both earn second Nassau County championships


Louis Hernandez continues to dominate opponents on the wrestling mat.

A junior at Mepham, Hernandez repeated as a Nassau County champion Feb. 12 when he defeated East Meadow’s Mike Tropiano, 22-5, in the 145-pound title bout at Hofstra, leading the Pirates to an impressive third-place finish in the team standings.

“He’s incredibly athletic and a student of the sport,” Mepham coach Rich Anderson said of Hernandez, who advanced to the New York State tournament this Friday and Saturday at Albany’s Times Union Center. “He’s very dominant in a lot of positions, especially on his feet,” he added.  

Hernandez, with 47 wins and one defeat, is ranked No. 1 in the state in the weight class. He won one of three matches at the state championships last winter. “His goal is to win the state title,” Anderson said. “He won the Eastern States Tournament earlier this year, which is the toughest out there, and he’s firing on all cylinders.”

Hernandez was never in trouble throughout the county tournament, winning twice by technical fall, once by pin, and once by major decision. He was joined in the two-day event by 13 teammates, including some others that went on to earn All-County honors by finishing in the top six of their respective weight classes. The Pirates racked up 121.5 points, finishing behind only champion Wantagh and runner-up MacArthur.

“It feels great to win the county again, and I’m going for the state title this year,” Hernandez said. “I broke a rib in between the county and state tournament last year, so I wasn’t 100 percent.”

Joel Zambrano (99 pounds), Tyler Clougher (152), Dan Tracy (160) and Corey Heller (195) all finished fourth, while John Sherlock (120) grabbed sixth.

Person avenges earlier loss

This weekend in Albany, Kennedy senior Robert Person will look to add a state championship to an already impressive high school wrestling resume. On Feb. 12, he earned a second Nassau County title in three years with a resounding 19-8 major decision over top-seeded Chris Cataldo of MacArthur in the 120-pound final.

“I wrestled him at the Eastern States Tournament and knew he was a tough kid,” Person said. “He beat me 11-9, but I was coming off a sickness and didn’t have a great week of practice.”

Person felt right at home in the rematch at Hofstra, where he won a county championship as a sophomore, finished second as a junior, and third as a freshman. “I like competing in front of a big crowd. I feed off it,” he said. “I know what it feels like to finish second and I didn’t want to feel that way again.”

Cougars coach Brian DeGaetano said
Person is the most talented wrestler he’s had in the program. “Rob’s the best I’ve coached,” he said. “His passion for the sport is incredible. He’s got a tremendous work ethic and wrestles year-round. He lost to Cataldo earlier in the season, but he was relentless tonight.”

Person takes a 37-2 record upstate. “The atmosphere at states is unlike anything else,” he explained. “It feels great to be going back.”

Kennedy senior Richard Luxmore reached the All-County podium by finishing fourth at 138 pounds. He won four times, and both of his losses were by one point to Wantagh’s Nick Vines.