For the second straight year, the Oceanside wrestling team will be sending 12 grapplers to the individual county championships at Hofstra this weekend. Is the school’s next long-awaited county champion among them?
Four Sailors won their respective weight classes and three more finished third at the Nassau Division 6 Qualifier at Baldwin High School last Saturday, giving the team and coach Brian Schoenfelder plenty of momentum heading into this weekend’s event.
“Big picture, we got the kids we needed to to advance,” Schoenfelder said.
The team especially dominated the 116-weight class by claiming the top three spots in that division. Junior Jake Strianese bested freshman teammate Chace Morris in the final and sophomore Michael Scotto needed two overtime periods to beat Farmingdale’s Anthony Mancuso in the consolation final after losing to him weeks earlier.
“He had such a great mindset knowing he could win three matches and wrestle back and he won each match,” Schoenfelder said of Scotto. “Just pure mental toughness. Once you get that far in the tournament, it’s just who’s more mentally tough. He just proved it. I’m really proud of him.”
Senior Ben Rivezzo had byes until the quarterfinals, and he pinned his next three opponents to claim the 215 class. Despite all his successes, he has yet to earn All-County status.
“He’s an absolute beast,” Schoenfelder said. “He’s wrestled the big kids and beat them all. He’s ready for counties.”
Senior Daniel Gilmore needed two pinfalls and a technical fall victory to reach the 145 finals, where he pinned top-seeded Adrian Gestiada of Hicksville in just under four minutes. Junior Jared Marine (190) was especially impressive with two pinfalls under 40 seconds and another in just under four minutes to capture that final.
Freshman Kieran Harrington also got a measure of revenge against a Farmingdale grappler. He lost to Jordan Elie 9-6 in his first match before beating him 6-2 in the consolation bracket semifinals en route to a third-place finish in the 110 bracket, which he earned with a hard-fought 12-10 decision victory.
Junior Santino Palmisano (170) was the Sailors’ other third-place finisher. Byes advanced him to the semifinals, where he picked up a pinfall win before suffering a major decision loss in the semis. In the consolation bracket, he pinned Syosset’s John Tsiakos in the semis before being awarded third place by forfeit.
Also heading to Hofstra are Esah Abdulkareem (131), Max Gutman (152), Richard Calvo (160) and Brett Moshkovich (285.)
Oceanside had four All-County wrestlers last winter, including Marine, Morris and Strianese. That was the most since 1989 and the chances are high that the Sailors can meet or exceed that number while snapping their decades-old county champion drought.
“You always want to better yourself from the year before, so we want to beat what we did last year,” Schoenfelder said. “Obviously, we want to do more than four All-County. We haven’t had a county champion in 24 years. That’s a huge goal for the team. And we have three legitimate weight classes where we can win a county title.”