Bellmore-Merrick wrestlers thrive in qualifier


Mepham hosted one of six Nassau County Division I Qualifying Tournaments last Saturday, with wrestlers from seven different schools vying to advance to the Nassau County Championships at Hofstra University this Friday and Saturday. The three Bellmore schools produced a total of 10 champions in the 15 individual weight classes, with Mepham capturing six, while Kennedy and Calhoun each had a pair of title winners.

“It was electric and it was unbelievable,” Pirates coach Rich Anderson said of the atmosphere in which his team qualified 14 wrestlers and also finished first as a team. “Having it in the Mepham gym with these seniors was awesome.”

“We did very well,” Kennedy coach Brian DeGaetano said. “Mepham has a very strong team and Calhoun is much-improved. We’re very pleased as a district to do what we’re doing.”

Senior Jamie Dunn, already a two-time All-County honoree, didn’t let a broken hand slow him down. He took home the qualifying championship at 106 pounds and shared the honor of the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler with Kennedy senior Robert Person. A Nassau Division I champion and All-State honoree last season, Person knocked off Hewlett’s Simon Greebel, 5-1, in the finals at 132 pounds. His teammate, senior Rich Luxmore, finished first at 138, winning a 3-1 decision in overtime against Hewlett’s Rob Rosenberg.

“They both had great finals matches and they’re peaking at the right time,” DeGaetano said.

Mepham junior Louis Hernandez is aiming for a second consecutive county crown after defeating teammate Matt Assael, a junior, 23-8, in the qualifier finals at 145. He also earned the tournament’s honor of Most Pins in Least Time, needing a total of just 3:29 to finish off his first three opponents. Pirates’ sophomore Joel Zambrano earned the title at 99 pounds with an 11-0 major decision of sophomore teammate Alex Pekoff, while senior Tom Mauro was the top of his class at 132. Senior Dan Tracy defeated Calhoun junior Chris Johnsen, 8-0, in the finals at 160, and Pirates’ senior Steven Lambert earned a qualifying championship at 182.

Mepham senior Corey Heller finished second at 195, and a trio of seniors, Tyler Clougher (152), Shane Agostino (170) and Anthony Maltese (195) all took third. Junior John Sherlock (120) and freshman Tyler Althenn (99) finished fourth.

The Colts were led by senior Jenard Rosemond, who overcame a two-point deficit in the third period of his championship matchup with Hewlett’s Matt Kaminer by turning an escape and a takedown into a 3-2 win. After battling much of the season as an undersized 285-pounder, Rosemond gradually shed weight to make the cut at 220 and hasn’t lost a bout in the class. “He’s undefeated at 220 pounds and finding that he’s a bigger wrestler [than most opponents] and he’s very technical,” his coach Steven Romano said.

Sophomore Anthony Fitzsimmons also won an individual title at 170 by pinning Manhasset’s Bryan Herbert at the 3:08 mark, while junior Willy Jutt took second at 113. Four Calhoun wrestlers earned third-place finishes, including sophomore Matt Krause (106), junior Dylan Goldstein (132), senior Julian Arroyo (138) and junior Pedro Moreno (182). Senior Joe Marcantonio (195) and sophomore Dan Tripicione (285) advanced to Hofstra with by taking fourth.

Along with Person and Luxmore, Kennedy is also sending seniors Tyler Smith (126), David Greenstein (132) and Rich Graziano (145) and sophomore Aydin Kessler (170), each of whom finished fourth, and junior Ben Sather, a third-place finisher at 99, to Hofstra.