All eyes will be on Farmingdale College this weekend as six South Side/East Rockaway wrestlers try to make noise at the county championships.
Senior Brendan McCarthy won the 160 bracket at the Section 8 Division 1 Individual Qualifying Tournament in Uniondale last Saturday and sophomore Thomas Wagner advanced to the final of the 99-pound event. Seniors William Abrams (138) and Aidan Kelly (160) took third in their respective weight classes and will also attend the state qualifier, as will fifth-place finishers Lucas Cortazar (106) and Cobh Ferrick (220.)
At press time, senior Andrew Shulov was on the bubble for a wild card spot after placing sixth on Saturday.
“I’m really happy with what we did at the qualifier,” coach Mike Robinson said. “I wasn’t really expecting six guys and we have another guy with a shot for a seventh with the wild card. It’s not a bad job, especially with a young team.”
The top-seeded McCarthy pinned Yasser Jiminez of Lawrence in the quarterfinals before having the unenviable task of facing practice partner Kelly in the semis. The two put on a spirited battle before McCarthy escaped with a 13-8 decision victory.
“It was a good match,” Robinson said. “Both guys went after each other and no one’s holding anything back. Both of them wanted to get to that final.”
McCarthy clinched his second division qualifier win by pinning Wantagh’s Joseph Russo in 3 minutes, 22 seconds. He was taken down early in the match, but later thwarted a big throw attempt by Russo and caught him on his back for the victory.
“The moment for him was great,” Robinson said. “He got up and he was so excited.”
Wagner beat Sean Bellia of Wantagh by a technical fall in the quarters and major decisioned North Shore’s Matthew O’Donnell to advance to the final before suffering a 15-2 major decision loss to Joseph Manfredi of Herricks.
“He previously wrestled [Wagner] this year and it was a 5-2 match, but I think Manfredi was ready for him,” Robinson said of Manfredi’s victory over Wagner a month earlier. “Unfortunately, Thomas didn’t have enough on Saturday. I’m hoping that they see each other again.”
Abrams topped Kian Ghazvini of Jericho 13-4 in their consolation match and Kelly rebounded to pin Jiminez in 1:40. Cortazar, an up-and-coming eighth grader, finished his day with a 10-6 decision over Uniondale’s Brandon Juncal 10-6 and Ferrick followed suit with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Lawrence’s Kevin Martinez.
Wagner and McCarthy each have 22 wins this season, Cortazar is close behind with 21 and Abrams and Kelly each posted 20. The team has already exceeded expectations following the departure of legendary grappler Kyle Mosher with a fifth-place finish in their league, and Robinson is hoping that momentum can carry over into this weekend’s event.
“I’m expecting the kids to wrestle hard,” he said. “We’re just going to get ready and wrestle one match at a time. That’s what it’s all about.”