Mepham’s Kyle Athenn is on a mission to capture a Nassau wrestling championship following three straight All-County finishes, and he set the tone with an impressive opening month.
The 138-pound senior won the MacArthur Tournament for a fourth time and also won the Sprig Gardner while taking home the Most Outstanding Wrestler award at both events. “Kyle made the state tournament as a wild card last season, but this time he wants to go as a county champion,” Pirates coach Sean Arresto said. “He looks great so far.”
Senior Jack Molloy (132 pounds) and junior Matt Hegi (195) also won titles at the Sprig to help Mepham to a second-place finish behind Kings Park in a field of 11 teams. Hegi was All-County last winter and Molloy is a two-time qualifying tournament champ who had his junior campaign cut short by injury.
Other key pieces for Mepham include senior John Koenig (170) and junior Ryan Hegi (220.) Both reach the finals at the Sprig. “I’m happy with our results,” Arresto said.
Kennedy is fielding its youngest squad in two decades, coach Brian DeGaetano said, and is looking to set the tone for a bright future. “We haven’t been this young in forever, but there’s a good nucleus of talent and we’re hoping to make the dual meet playoffs,” he said.
The Cougars are led by senior Greg Brach, a returning All-County finisher (fifth at 99 pounds) and fifth-year member of the varsity. “He’s our leader,” DeGaetano said. “He’s making an adjustment, jumping from 99 to 120, but he can definitely be All-County again.”
Senior Chris Polanco (138) is one of the hardest workers in the room and a positive role model for an inexperienced team. Sophomores Anthony Pizzirusso (113) and Dan DeFillipo (152) have been impressive so far, DeGaetano said. Pizzirusso won the Walt Whitman Tournament and was fourth in the Sprig. “He’s got an improved attitude and wresting with confidence,” the coach said of Pizzirusso. DeFillipo, who brings an unconventional style to the mat, had four pins at the Sprig and finished third.
Juniors Ryan Weinstein, Robert Burns and Jason Goldstein will also serve as key contributors for Kennedy, which placed fifth in the Sprig.
Calhoun is rebuilding under new coach Pete Marques, who spent the previous six seasons as an assistant at Plainedge. Marques said he’s seen major improvements from the Colts, who feature more than 20 freshmen, in the opening month.
Seniors Jake Marine and Tobias Harrington are Calhoun’s most accomplished wrestlers. Marine, who was All-County as a sophomore, won the Sprig title and also the Bethpage Tournament at 152 pounds. “Jake has great technique and a lot of experience,” Marques said.
Harrington (170) captured the Bethpage event and placed third in the Sprig. “He’s exciting to watch,” Marques said. “He puts a lot of points on the board and gets pins.”
Senior Finn Campbell placed in two of the first three tournaments, while junior Alex Morzillo (138) had four pins in the South Side Tournament.