Junior Joe Becker became Lynbrook’s first Nassau County wrestling champion in 12 years when he pinned Port Washington’s Dan Gibson in the 106-pound Division I final last Sunday night at Hofstra.
Becker, who held a comfortable lead when he put an exclamation point on his title run at the 4:56 mark, helped the Owls to an impressive seventh-place finish in the team standings. He’s the program’s first county champ since Matt Giordano captured the 145-pound crown on Feb. 20, 2005.
“I’ve been chasing this for three years and it feels great,” said Becker, who entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed. “I didn’t know anything about my opponent in the finals, but coach [Rich] Renz told me he was strong on top so I had to be cautious.”
Becker had three pins and one technical fall victory in the tournament and will take a record of 31-4 to Albany for the state championships on Feb. 24-25.
“I knew going into the county tournament that Joe was on top of his game,” Renz said. “He dominated all weekend. The biggest thing I’ve noticed over the past two weeks was his confidence. He’s been here before and was All-County last season, and that definitely helped him.”
The Owls had two other big-time performers last weekend. Senior Matt Swanson reached the county finals for a second straight season, while junior Matt Renz advanced to the semifinals.
Swanson ripped off four victories and finished runner-up to Long Beach’s Jacori Teemer, a four-time county champ, at 132 pounds. Renz, meanwhile, won twice on ultimate tiebreakers. He beat Colin Paskewitz, 4-3, and edged Massapequa’s Kevin Smithwick, 3-2.
“I don’t think we could’ve asked for much more,” coach Renz said. “For us to finish seventh in the county is outstanding.”