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Long Beach dominates qualifier

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One of five teams to host a Nassau Division I wrestling qualifier last Saturday, Long Beach got rid of a bad taste from an early exit from the dual meet playoffs with a stellar performance.

The Marines crowned five champions, had four runners-up, and will send a loaded bus of 18 participants to this weekend’s county championships at Farmingdale State College. Included in that group is senior Amir Hodge (132 pounds), who won his fourth straight qualifier.

“The dual meet playoffs was very disappointing but we turned the page and wrestled great in the qualifier,” Long Beach coach Ray Adams said. “It looks like a five-team race for the county title and we’re in the mix. We’ll need a lot of top performances to get it done, but that’s our goal.”

Hodge defeated Lynbrook’s David Vivar in the finals and also had the Most Pins in Least Time (2:07) on the way to improving to 26-6 on the season. “Amir has yet to be All-County and he’s on a mission,” Adams said. “It’s his final shot and we’ll see how it goes.”

Junior Jeremiah Echeverria (113 pounds), seniors Max Maquet (160), and Trey Sofield (170), as well as junior Dylan Sofield (152) all took home titles from the qualifier, which included Mepham, Syosset, Glen Cove, Lynbrook, Valley Stream North, Calhoun, Roslyn and Great Neck North.

Echeverria, who reached the county finals last winter and earned a wild-card invitation to the state tournament, is the No. 1 seed at 113. He’s won 34 of 38 matches this season and defeated junior teammate Kevin Lopez in the finals of the qualifier, taking a 6-1 decision. Lopez (third place) and sophomore Jafet Velasquez (sixth) were also All-County a year ago. Velasquez took third in the qualifier.

Maquet, a two-time All-County performer, competed at 152 most of the campaign but was bumped to 160 down the stretch. Of Maquet’s 32 victories, 24 are by pin and six are by lopsided scores. Junior Ty Yanowitch had a strong qualifier and was runner-up to Maquet.

Trey Sofield also has 32 wins on the season after missing each of the past two with a torn labrum. Adams said there’s a good chance Sofield can land on the All-County podium. “He’s been through a lot and it would be great to see,” the coach noted.

Dylan Sofield capped his qualifier with a 15-0 tech fall victory over Lynbrook’s Tyler Ippolito in the finals. Cousin to brothers Trey and Dylan, senior Wally Sofield took second in the qualifier at 126 and lost only to defending county champ George Oroudjov of Syosset.

Also reaching the finals of the qualifier for a second consecutive season was 120-pounder Andres Castro. Sophomore Wyatt Parker (126) and freshmen Jack Valentin (99) and Michael Berube (106) took third, senior Nick Giorlando (220) and juniors Peter Navarrete (182) and Luke Mantia (132) were fourth, and junior Thomas Rooney (170) and sophomore Martin Webster (152) placed fifth.