Last winter, Long Beach’s Dunia Sibomana made wrestling history when he became just the second-ever Long Island eighth-grader to win a New York State championship, joining 2018 graduate Jacori Teemer.
Last Sunday evening, another young member of the Marines’ program etched himself into the record book. Ethan Andreula became the first-ever seventh grader in Nassau to capture a Division 1 county wrestling title when he defeated MacArthur’s Vincent Orandello, 1-0, in the 102-pound final at Hofstra University.
Sibomana, last year’s Nassau champ at 102, then made it back-to-back county crowns with a 14-2 major decision victory over Hewlett’s Carlos Salazar at 110.
Andreula, Sibomana and three teammates (Brody Franklin, Freedom Excel and Jack Valentin) are all headed to the state tournament Feb. 24-25 at Albany’s MVP Arena. The Marines finished second in the team standings behind Wantagh.
“All the boys wrestled really well and battled,” Long Beach coach Ray Adams said. “No complaints. One of the things I’m most proud of is how many of our guys flipped results against kids they lost to during the regular season.”
Andreula, who was the No. 1 seed, hadn’t faced Orandello prior to Sunday. Orandello was seeded seventh and upset the No. 2 and 3 seeds on the way to the final. “We gave Ethan the best scouting report we could,” Adams said of himself and assistant coach Leo Palacio. “It was a combination of what we saw in the semifinals and what we watched on film.
“Honestly, the main thing was keeping Ethan from getting caught up in the crowd,” Adams added. “A few thousand people there and he’s only a seventh grader. He was able to put that aside and focus.”
Andreula proved far from a deer-in-headlights and got the job done. “Ethan had a lot of success in our Gladiators’ youth program and we knew what he was capable of,” Adams said.
Sibomana dominated the 110 bracket with three pins leading up to the title bout. He benefitted from some matches against bigger opponents during the regular season. “We bumped Dunia to 118 so he can face some top-tier kids,” Adams said. “He’s a very hard worker and hitting his stride at the right time. He’s hoping to win another state title.”
Sibomana is 27-6 on the season and already has 62 career wins.
“Winning a county championship for a second time felt good,” he said. “I’ve worked so hard for it. My coaches helped me in so many ways and my family always supports me.”
Franklin, a freshman like Sibomana, lost in Sunday morning’s semifinals but rebounded nicely to take third at 110 and gain a spot in the state tournament.
Excel, a senior at 138, “showed unbelievable mental fortitude,” Adams noted. He recorded six wins over the weekend, including three incredible overtime decisions as well as a one-point regulation win. “I can’t say enough about how much he toughed it out,” the coach said.
Valentin, a senior, avenged a pair of regular-season losses to Syosset’s Jacob Brockey to punch his ticket upstate with a 5-1 victory in the third-place match at 145.
Long Beach also had three other All-County placewinners: sophomore Gregory Walpole was fourth at 118, senior Gregory Milone took fourth at 152, and senior Luke Anfossi finished fifth at 172.