High expectations for Long Beach


Despite some untimely injuries leading up to the Nassau County D1 wrestling tournament last season, Long Beach managed a fifth-place finish behind the amazing story written by Dunia Sibomana.

Sibomana won the county and state championships at 99 pounds as an eighth-grader and headlines a strong group of returning starters that includes All-County honorees Michael Berube (sixth at 126) and Gregory Milone (sixth at 132.)

The Marines stormed out of the gate in December by winning their host tournament as well as the King of the Mat (Hewlett) and South Side tourneys, pushing them to the top-ranked team in Nassau and No. 7 in the state. Long Beach was the preseason No. 3 in the county.

“We’re not too concerned about rankings until the end of the season,” coach Ray Adams said. “We’re just worried about getting better every day.”

Sibomana, who took the wrestling community by storm last season, is now competing at 110 pounds and eyeing a repeat state title, Adams said. Sibomana went 35-2 is his inaugural varsity campaign and followed with an outstanding offseason that saw him travel all over the country to face top-tier opponents in various wrestling styles. “He’s taking on a new challenge and has a target on his back after winning it all last year,” Adams said. “He’s focused and has everything it takes.”

Berube is bumping up to 132, and Milone to 152. “We’re looking to Michael for senior leadership and to be in the mix for a county championship,” Adams said of Berube, ranked fourth in the county. “When he’s on, he’s capable of beating anyone.”

The coach said Milone dedicated himself to the sport throughout the offseason and is one of the hardest workers in the room every day. Milone captured the South Side Tournament on Dec. 17. “The work he puts in will pay off,” Adams said.

Senior Jack Valentin is on a mission to go all the way at 145 pounds after a shoulder injury derailed his chances a year ago. He’s served notice early with two tournament wins and a runner-up finish at the Battle at the Beach. Senior Freedom Excel is also at 145 and was a qualifying tournament champ last season.

At 172 pounds, Luke Anfossi has high expectations and All-County talent, Adams said. Anfossi got his senior season off to a bang by pinning defending county champ Noah Corwin of Wantagh in the semifinals on the way to capturing the Battle at the Beach.

Senior Hector Morabel seeks a spot on the All-County podium at 160 after being sidelined by a wrist injury last winter. The same goes for junior Matan Greenfeld, who won three matches in the county tournament.

Sophomore Brody Franklin (110) also won three times on the big county stage and has what it takes to go far, Adams said. Franklin took first at South Side. Seventh-grader Ethan Andreula (99) is already making a name for himself after capturing the Battle at the Beach in his first-ever varsity action.

Other keys to Long Beach’s county title hopes include seniors Ben Shapiro, who took the Battle at the Beach at 285, Hayden Sofield (189) and Jack Miller (215), and sophomore 118-pounder Gregory Walpole.