South Side’s wrestling team enjoyed a strong ending to the 2013-14 campaign with three qualifying tournament champs and seven participants in last weekend’s Nassau County Division I championships at Hofstra.
Senior Lucas Derkatch (152 pounds), junior Jason Dantona (285), and seventh-grader Kyle Mosher (99) finished atop their respective weight class at the qualifier hosted by MacArthur, while seniors Brian Kenneally, Kevin Rafferty and Frank Alaimo, along with freshman Cliff Cornell, all won at least three matches to punch their tickets to Hofstra.
“I’m happy with how well we did in the qualifier,” Cyclones coach Mike Robinson said. “We want to keep building the program and send more and more kids to counties every year.”
Mosher could become a staple at the countywide event. After a dominant performance in the qualifier that saw him beat Brenden McCauley of Herricks (tech fall), Frankie Paulino of Freeport (tech fall), and Nick Goodleman of MacArthur (pin in 2:27), Mosher was seeded third in the county tournament and finished sixth to earn All-County recognition.
“He’s a special, special wrestler,” Robinson said of Mosher, who finished with a record of 30-7. “He doesn’t fear anyone. All of his losses came against top kids. He had a tremendous season.”
Derkatch, who had a record of 23-9, had a tough road at Hofstra as the No. 6 seed following an outstanding performance in the qualifier. He cruised past MacArthur’s Sal DeLuca, 8-1, in the first round of the qualifier and his confidence soared from there, Robinson explained. Derkatch pinned Freeport’s Edgar Escobar in 4:40 the finals of the qualifier after pinning Hicksville’s David Arsimendi in the first period of the semis. “Lucas is the type of wrestler who got better and better every time he went out on the mat,” Robinson said.
Dantona’s two matches at the qualifier were done in the blink of an eye. It took him nine seconds to pin Hicksville’s Sean Sackman in the semis, and then 43 seconds to pin Hicksville’s John Cruz in the final. “When Jason has his technique going, he gets the job done,” Robinson said of Dantona, who won 21 of 34 bouts on the season.
Kenneally, who Robinson said was the team’s hardest worker, won four of five matches at the qualifier — three by pin and the other a 5-4 decision over Calhoun’s Isaiah Arroyo. “Of all the guys, I am most proud of Brian making it to the county tournament,” Robinson said. “It was great to see all his work pay off.”
Rafferty had three pins in the qualifier to get to 20 wins on the season, and followed with an All-County performance at Hofstra. He finished third in the 182-pound weight class. Alaimo also made the All-County podium, placing fifth at 170. He won five matches in the county tournament to finish 29-6 on the season.
Cornell got a taste of the big county stage after rallying for fourth place in the qualifier. He lost his opening bout but came back to pin Khaleem Morris of Freeport in 48 seconds, Peter Roberto of Calhoun in 32 seconds, and Paulino in 3:38.