It was a strong showing at Hewlett High School by the host team last Saturday afternoon at the Nassau Division 1 wrestling qualifier. A total of eight Bulldogs made the finals in their respective weight groups with six winning it all.
Similar to last season, the Bulldogs had six qualifier champions to set the tone for the bigger stage this weekend. The mark ties a school record and Hewlett will be sending at least 11 wrestlers to the county championships at Hofstra University. They’ll look to replicate last winter’s success.
“We have like a murderers row from weight class 110 to 132,” coach Stephen Jones said. “Those guys are some of the top guys in the county.”
In the lightest weight class of 102 pounds, Hewlett’s Jesse McMahon came out on top. The freshman is not currently ranked in his weight group, but has started to come into his own as of late.
“He’s had a very nice year,” Jones said. “Jesse has been in our youth program and has been wrestling with us for a long time, so we’re not surprised. I think it gives him a lot of momentum and confidence for the county.”
Hewlett has continued to showcase its top wrestlers throughout the winter between various tournaments and dual meets. One member in particular who shined this past weekend was Kirk Smith (126). The junior, who is ranked fourth in section eight as of Jan. 31, pinned his opponent in just 54 seconds and recorded the most pins (four) in the least amount of time (4:29).
Smith is one of two wrestlers in Hewlett’s program that has picked up career win No. 100 this season.
“It’s really impressive, especially being only a junior with a shortened season,” Jones said. “For him to reach that mark is just a huge achievement.”
The other to reach that plateau of 100 wins is multi-sport athlete Ariel Waldman (132). The senior is a two-time county finalist and is one of the six qualifier champions. Waldman is currently ranked second in section eight and is the anchor out of Hewlett’s wrestlers.
“He’s our top guy,” Jones said. “He looks better than he’s looked all year. I think he’s got a really legitimate shot to win.”
After numerous second place finishes in various tournaments and meets prior to Saturday’s Division 1 Qualifier, senior Ryan Goodman broke through with a win in the 172lb group. Goodman, a captain for the Bulldogs, will be heading to Quinnipiac University this fall to play division 1 lacrosse.
“He’s very solid and a good athlete,” Jones said. “Ryan’s just a good all-around kid and he should definitely be one of the top-five seeds next week.”
Eighth-grader Carlos Salazar (110) and junior Eric Gendlin (118) were also qualifying tournament champions. Jacob Bouskilla (145) and Oleg Daniloff (160) both finished runners-up.
Overall, the Bulldogs finished second in the eight-team event and will have plenty of representation at Hofstra. The county finals are set for 4:30 p.m. this Sunday.