Baldwin didn’t have the greatest showing at the Nassau Wrestling Qualifying Tournament hosted by Garden City last Saturday, finishing sixth in the seven-team event, but at least four Bruins managed to advance to this weekend’s county championship meet at Hofstra.
Junior John Quinn (120 pounds) and sophomore Jack Thibault (132) punched their tickets by taking third place in the qualifier, while seniors Baktawar Khan (113) and Phil Sylvestre (170) picked up fourth. Baldwin coach Jim Murphy was optimistic about the chances of sophomore Ronaldo Escobar (106) joining the foursome at Hofstra by virtue of a wild card.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t do better in the qualifier, but I know we’re a young team,” Murphy said. “Our kids have the tools. They were pretty consistent during the regular season.”
Murphy said he was steering any Bruins not participating in the county meet to attend the big two-day event, which begins Saturday morning at 10 a.m. The semifinals will be held Sunday morning, and the finals are slated to begin at 6:45 p.m. that evening. He may request a team bus to transport everyone to Hofstra’s Mack Sports Complex. “I want all the kids to see what the county tournament is all about, not just the kids we’ll have on the mats,” he said. “I want them all to have a vision of where they need to get and what it takes to get there.”
The coach said he’s particularly excited about Sylvestre advancing for the first time in his final try. “All of our coaches wanted to see Phil get to the dance,” Murphy said. “We wanted him to see what the hoopla is all about.” Sylvestre carries a record of 19-14 into the county meet.
Thibault leads Baldwin in wins on the season with 24, and he has just six defeats. He’s one of a number of soccer players Murphy said is excelling on the mats. “They’re all quality athletes,” Murphy said of Thibault, Quinn and Escobar, to name a few. “Jack is one of the hardest-working kids we’ve got. He’s been wrestling tough all season.”
Quinn has split 40 matches, while Escobar sports a record of 19-11. “I can’t say enough about them,” Murphy said. “They’re good leaders, and they went above and beyond during the offseason.” Escobar was part of a strong 106-pound class at the qualifier and lost two matches by the narrowest of margins.
Khan takes a 15-13 record to Hofstra after securing the last spot in the qualifier. Junior Danny Fisher will look forward to next season after placing sixth at 170.
The Bruins prepped for the qualifier by hosting Lawrence, Freeport, Great Neck South, New Rochelle and Sewanhaka East in the Baldwin Duals on Jan. 25. Baldwin won one of four matches, beating Lawrence 48-21 behind pins by Kahn, Fisher and Desmond Kelly.