After a grueling dual meet schedule further challenged by a string of viruses that hit the team, Freeport wrestling is positioned to make its mark on the county stage.
Freeport qualified 13 wrestlers for the Nassau County Division 1 Championships at Hofstra this weekend, a number that exceeded expectations for third-year coach Matt Cellan. Seven of the 13 qualifiers placed in the top three, which earns them a seed at counties and a more attainable path to obtaining All-County honors with a top six finish.
“Some guys have put themselves in position where now they're going to have a really good chance to go out and perform and get into those medal rounds, be All-County and get criteria for next year,” Cellan said of his team’s performance at the one of the Nassau County Division I qualifiers at Hewlett. “That’s what it is all about for these younger guys especially.”
Sophomore Josh Cabrera qualified for counties for a second straight season with second place finish at 110 pounds. He reached the 110-pound finals against Hewlett’s Carlos Salazar after edging his Freeport teammate, Jahari Lloyd, 5-3 in overtime in the semifinals.
“That was a really good match,” Cellan said of the bout between Cabrera and Lloyd, which marked the fourth time this season they have met on the mat with their record now 2-2. “They wrestle each other every day and practice together so are very familiar with each other.”
Junior Juan Ramos also reached the finals at 189 a season removed from just missing out on qualifying for counties with a sixth-place finish. After powering through a tough semifinal match, Ramos battled the state’s No. 1-ranked wrestler at 189 in Eric Carlson of Manhasset and battled hard before getting pinned in the third period.
“He usually pins everyone in the first period,” said Cella of how tough Ramos fought Carlson. “He held his own.”
Lloyd rebounded from falling to Cabrera in the semis to win his third place match at 110 against Garden City’s Anthony Pica, 3-2. The sophomore has made strides this season in a competitive weight class after competing at 102 as a freshman.
Also placing third at qualifiers to earn a seed at counties were seventh grader Christian McCravey (102), sophomore Anthony Velasquez (172) and junior Jordan Addison (215). McCravey made history as the first Freeport wrestler to qualify for counties in seventh grade.
Senior Amir Levy qualified for counties for the first time with a fourth-place finish at 152. Hanson Romero also placed fourth at 145, dropping a close third -lace match to Massapequa’s Matthew Sanfillipo, 3-1.
Other Freeport wrestlers who qualified by placing fifth included Kerry Ellis (126), Edwyn Lopez(138), Ivo Gonzalez (160), Christian Greene (189) and Edwin Aracena (heavyweight).
The county championships are slated to begin Saturday with the All-County placement matches on tap for Super Bowl Sunday at Hofstra’s Mack Sports Complex. The Red Devils competing will earn a trip to the podium as an All-County wrestler by placing in the top six.