Wantagh's Loew a state champ


A six-year wrestling journey culminated with a state title for Jonathan Loew.

The Wantagh senior capped his high school career with a pin of East Ramapo’s Jhordyn Innocent 1:13 into the 195-pound finals at the Times-Union Center in Albany last Saturday night.  The Cornell-bound Loew, who began wrestling for Wantagh as a seventh grader at 99 pounds, reached the top of the podium in his third appearance at state’s and five years after his first appearance as a wildcard entry in eighth grade.

“I probably couldn’t have written a better ending,” said Loew, who reached the state championships after winning a Nassau County title at Hofstra on Feb. 11. “That was my goal for a while to be a state champion.”

Loew dominated en route to the state finals with three convincing wins including a 10-4 triumph against Johnny Santos of Fox Lane High School in Saturday morning’s semifinal bout. He showed versatility throughout his senior season including bumping up to the 220-pound weight class to help Wantagh capture the inaugural New York State Division I dual meet championship in dramatic fashion a month earlier.

“It’s nice to see all the hard work he has put in get rewarded,” said seventh-year Wantagh head coach Paul Gillespie. “He will make a fine wrestler at Cornell.”

Wantagh took home the state team title with four Warriors reaching the podium. Senior Justin Vines, who has committed to wrestle at LIU-Post, nearly earned his second state crown, but dropped a 3-2 overtime heartbreaker to Willie McDougald of Niagara Falls in the 132-pound finals. Sophomores Josiah Encarnacion and Matt Rogers (170) both finished fourth on the big stage.

“I couldn’t have asked for better teammates,” Loew said. “I’m glad that they pushed me every day in practice and made me a better wrestler.”