Tom Lynch’s five-year quest to become a county champion was completed in come-from-behind fashion.
The Seaford senior captured the 138-pound final in the Nassau County Division II championships on Feb. 15 in his last attempt to reach the top of the podium. Lynch’s 16-9 win against Clarke’s Aiden Yurdiga at Cold Spring Harbor High School after trailing 5-2 culminated a journey of placing in the top four of the counties since eighth grade including a runner-up finish last season.
“I’ve been trying to become a county champion for awhile,” Lynch said. “I’ve been working very hard for this.”
Lynch, who reached the championship match with two pins, faced early adversity trailing Yurdiga by three points in the first period before seizing control with two takedowns and never relinquishing the lead. The county crown sends Lynch to the New York State Championships in Albany this weekend where he will look to finish his high school wrestling career with All-State accolades.
“To win counties as a senior after placing the last four years was a special moment for him,” said seventh-year Seaford head coach Dave Takseraas. “He has worked incredibly hard this season.”
Joining Lynch at Albany’s Times-Union Center will be junior Jake Murphy, who earned a wildcard entry to the state championships following a runner-up county finish at 126 pounds. Murphy, who earned county crowns his first two years at Seaford at 99 and 113 pounds, became the first Division II wrestler to ever earn a state wildcard due to his 30-3 record coupled with prior accolades.
“It is his third straight year going to state’s which is quite an accomplishment,” said Takseraas of Murphy, who joins Will Montgomery as the only Seaford wrestlers to make three state championship appearances. “We’re excited he gets the opportunity to go back to Albany.”
Seaford had seven other second place county finishes including freshman Jack Godoy (99), senior Nick DiCamio (120), senior Andrew Volpi (132), senior Pat Quinn (182), junior Brendan O’Hagan (195), junior Nick Luciano (220) and senior Nick Brandi (285). Quinn and Brandi nearly joined Lynch as county champions with both falling on the finals stage by a single point. It marked the second straight year Brandi fell in a close county title match while Quinn was seeking his second straight 182 title.
“I’m proud of how the guys competed,” said Takseraas, whose team finished second in the county standings behind Clarke. “They left everything on the mat.”