Wantagh completes dominant run to title

Warriors earn first county championship since 2001


As the Wantagh boys’ lacrosse team stormed the field at the end of Friday night’s Nassau Class C finals it was more than just rejoicing in a county championship, but the chance for a close-knit group to extend their high school careers together.

Top-seeded Wantagh (16-3) captured the program’s first county title since 2001 with a convincing 13-4 win against Island Trees at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium to cap a far different ending than the previous two seasons when the Warriors fell on the finals stage to Manhasset. The county crown means at least a few more days of practices and a minimum of one more game for a Warriors’ team that was determined all offseason to extend the 2024 campaign as deep into the spring as possible.

“We have worked together so hard for this,” said junior attackman Dylan Martini. “This team has become family to me and I couldn't imagine not having another day without these guys.”

The long-awaited county championship advanced Wantagh into the Long Island Class C finals on Wednesday evening against Bayport-Blue Point at Longwood High School. 

Martini sparked the offense with six goals starting with a late first quarter goal that tied the game 1-1 after Wantagh got off to a slow start to open the game. The Warriors struck for six of the last seven goals of the first half to lead 6-2 at halftime. 

The domination continued in the second half with Wantagh scoring seven of the first eight goals capped by Martini’s sixth goal with 9:03 left in the fourth quarter for a 12-3 lead.

The explosive Wantagh offense also featured three goals from Joe Nicholson along with two goals and three assists by Jake Martini, a cousin of Dylan’s. Eighth grader Luke Martini, younger broker of Dylan, and Matthew Giacobello also tallied one goal apiece in the convincing win. Senior goalie Kyle Conklin also recorded 10 saves and Will Graves won 14-of-20 faceoffs as part of the balanced team effort. 

“They are family and they love each other and they're just so fun to be with and I don't want to see it end,” said sixth-year Wantagh coach James Polo. “The focus to win a championship has been there since we lost last year and to prove that we are a top program and this group is putting us back on the map.”

The championship path, which featured just three regular season losses against a grueling schedule, was led largely by five senior captains in  long stick defensive midfielder TJ Carlo, defenseman Thomas Conway, Jake Martini, Conklin and Greaves. 

Wantagh advanced to the championship stage with a 16-5 semifinal win against Bethpage at Hofstra on May 21 that featured three goals from Carter Loughman and Dylan Martini and four assists from Jake Martini. 

The Warriors will next look to mimic what the 2001 team did before by following up the county title with Long Island and state championship trophies. The next challenge will feature Bayport-Blue Point, which handed Wantagh one of its three losses by an 8-7 score on March 22.