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Freeport focused on big stage

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A dozen Freeport wrestlers will look to make their mark on the championship stage.

Freeport qualified 12 for the Nassau County individual Championships this past Saturday who will now seek to earn a spot on the podium with top six finishes. The Red Devils achieved one qualifying champion and five second place finishes on the mats Saturday at Bellmore JFK High School.

“Overall it was a solid showing,” Freeport assistant coach Matt Cellan said. “It was about what we expected would happen.”

Senior Myles Norris claimed first place at 285 pounds. Norris, who was runner-up in the counties last year before placing second in the New York State Championships as a wildcard entry, earned the heavyweight qualifying title when senior teammate Troy Saraldi forfeited after battling injuries during the tournament.

“It was a pretty unique situation,” said Cellan of Saraldi’s decision. “That is a pretty unbelievable thing to do for a friend.”

Cellan said Norris has a strong shot at competing again for both a county and state title he fell just short of last year. Norris, who will wrestle at Division I Long Island University next year, was ranked second at 285 in the latest Nassau County rankings.

”He is incredibly focused on what he wants,” said Cellan of Norris. “He always wants to get better.”

Saraldi was among five Red Devils to earn second place finishes along with Terry Ellis (126), Jerry Ellis (132), Jason Figueroa (160) and Giancarlos Solano (182). Figueroa dropped a hard-fought 12-7 decision to JFK’s Daniel DeFillipo in the qualifying championship.

The consolation finals also featured an all Freeport matchup at 145 between Neo Fearon and Elijiah Lapalmer. Both wrestlers have battled late-season injuries and Lapalmer forfeited the qualifying title to Fearon after losing to him previously in the day.

“We decided to keep them healthy,” Cellan said.

Sophomore Justin Reinke clinched his first trip to the county championships with a third place finish after pinning Aidan Bebber of Manhasset in the 99-pound consolation finals in just 55 seconds. The first round pin culminated a big a turnaround for Reinke, who lost his first bout on the day and needed to win three in a row to stay in contention.

Pedrielin Collado also took third place at 138 with a 4-0 finals decision against Manhasset’s Niko Tsoumpatiortis. Angel Cazeras took fourth place at 113 after getting pinned by Timmy Fruhauf of Manhasset 2:58 into the finals match.

The 182-pound fifth place match was a Freeport versus Freeport battle with Daven Lewis pinning Angel Matos at 2:16. Kevin Larios also qualified with a sixth place showing at 170 falling to Manhasset’s Jack Coleman in the fifth place bout, 13-5.

The 12 Freeport qualifiers will return to the mat for the first round of the county championships slated for Saturday at 9:30 am. at Farmingdale State’s Lynch Sports Center. The championship finals are set for Sunday at 6 p.m.