Long Beach earns conference title


Long Beach enters the Nassau County dual meet wrestling playoffs this week with a conference championship in tow.

The Marines defeated Herricks, 42-28, on the strength of five pins Jan. 10 to capture the Conference 2A crown for their seventh dual meet victory in eight tries.

“We’re pleased with the regular season and there’s a lot of great opportunities still out there starting with the team playoffs,” coach Ray Adams said. “The kids know there’s more work to do and they’re focused on finishing strong.”

Had Long Beach not beaten Herricks, the result would’ve created a three-way tie for the conference title along with East Meadow. The showdown began at 138 pounds and senior Freedom Excel got the Marines fired up by pinning his opponent in 3 minutes and 40 seconds.

“Freedom placed in all four tournaments we’ve had and he played an important role in the middle of the lineup in every dual meet,” Adams said.

Senior Jack Valentin has more than 20 wins on the season and three tournament titles (Hewlett, South Side, Massapequa) under his belt. He’s ranked fourth in the county at 145 pounds and also pinned his Herricks foe.

Junior Gregory Milone (152), who along with senior Luke Anfossi ranks at the top of the team wins leaders, is also ranked No. 4 in the county in his weight class. Milone won a 13-8 decision over Herricks’ Landon Lee to give Long Beach more cushion.

“Greg’s having a great season and has faced a lot of tough competition along the way,” Adams said of Milone, who has 24 wins entering the stretch run.

Anfossi has competed at 172 and 189 and captured both the Battle at the Beach and Massapequa tournament titles. He’s ranked second in the county at 172 behind Clarke’s Justin Soriano. “Luke has a goal of winning a county title and he’s definitely in the mix,” Adams said.

The Marines were dealt a blow in late December when senior heavyweight Ben Shapiro suffered a knee injury in the South Side Tournament, ending his season. “It’s a big void and we hope Ben has a speedy recovery,” Adams said.

Long Beach has been nothing short of dominant at the lower weights, led by defending state champion Dunia Sibomana at 110. Sibomana, a freshman, is ranked No. 1 in the county and carries a record of 20-5, with none of his defeats coming to a New York-based opponent within his weight class.

Seventh-grader Ethan Andreula is starring at 102 as a varsity rookie. “His losses are to some of the best kids in the state and he’s ranked second in the county,” Adams said. “Nobody knew about him coming into the season, but our coaches and kids did.”

Freshman Brody Franklin is ranked second behind Sibomana and won three matches at last year’s county tournament. Franklin and sophomore Greg Walpole (118) have also reached the 20-win mark.

“This is the time of year when kids make a name for themselves,” Adams said. “We’re excited.”

Clarke hosts the dual meet quarterfinals, semifinals and finals this Saturday. Long Beach hosts one of five county qualifier tournaments on Feb. 4.