First-place finishes by juniors Dan Fishman and Sam Burns served as the top highlights for Oceanside wrestling at last Saturday’s Nassau County qualifying tournament hosted by Massapequa.
Fishman captured the 106-pound title, while Burns emerged victorious at 132. They’ll be joined by four teammates at the Division I championships this weekend at Hofstra University as the youthful Sailors look to make some noise on the big stage.
“We have such a young team and I thought punching six kids through was a good day,” Oceanside coach Julio Flores. “For the two champs, they’ll get a bye in the first round at Hofstra and have a great shot to be All-County.”
Fishman earned All-County honors as a sophomore when he placed sixth at 106 after reaching the semifinals. This time, he’s looking for a deeper run and wants to win it all according to Flores. “Dan’s had a really strong season and went after all the heavy hitters,” he said. “He wanted to compete against all the top guys and went up a weight class to face some of them. He’s not afraid of anyone.”
In the finals of the qualifier, Fishman defeated upset-minded Rishab Jajoo of Manhasset. Jajoo knocked off the No. 2 and 3 seeds but proved no match for the top-ranked Fishman, who takes a record of 22-4 into the county championships.
Unlike, Fishman, Burns (23-7) has flown under the radar most of the season. “Nobody really knows about Sam, but he’s come up big all year for us,” Flores said. “He does some MMA training on the side and has a competitive nature. He’s aggressive and focused.” Burns capped his qualifier with a 7-0 decision over Robert Lunetta of Manhasset in the finals.
Another relative unknown in the county circle is Oceanside freshman Justin Marine, who made a splash at the qualifier by pinning East Meadow senior Matt Mustakis for third place while avenging an early season loss. Marine (24-8) also gave eventual champ Nick Karamoshos all he could handle in the semis, with a 5-5 deadlock before suffering a loss by pin. “Justin is talented and his confidence is through the roof,” Flores said. “After what he showed at the qualifier and saw he can hang with top-ranked kids, I think there’s a possibility he can win the county.”
Junior Parker Jervis (152) and sophomores Isaac Barahona (182) and Jared Gonzalez (285) also placed third in the qualifier. Of those, Barahona was the lone surprise. He struggled throughout the regular season but worked hard leading up to the qualifier on what proved to be his money move. “He worked on his shot and he started taking everyone down in practice,” Flores said. “Once he got that first win, his whole confidence level changed.”
The Sailors finished the regular season with a 9-5 mark, exceeding the coach’s expectations and reaching the county dual meet team playoffs. “It was a little surprising because of all the youth,” explained Flores, who lauded the efforts of assistant coach Brian Schoenfelder. “But the kids came together and worked hard.”