It’s becoming a recurring trend in recent years that Lynbrook wrestlers save their best performances for season’s end. That was no exception this winter, with Lynbrook sending 11 wrestlers to the county championship last weekend – one of whom made Nassau County history.
Ally Fitzgerald, who two years ago as a freshman became the first female to win a weight class title at a sanctioned wrestling tournament on Long Island, reached yet another milestone on Feb. 8 by becoming the first female wrestler to qualify for the Nassau County championships.
She did so in an upset victory, pinning the third-ranked wrestler in the 120-pound weight class to finish in third place in at the D1 qualifying tournament hosted by Long Beach.
For Lynbrook coach Rich Renz, who has been training Fitzgerald for three years, it was a moment of great pride. “She was focused, determined and ready to wrestle. She went out there like a fireplug,” said Renz. “She was clicking on all cylinders. You can see the confidence, the positive aura coming out. You knew that she was ready.”
At the county championships this past weekend at Farmingdale State College, Fitzgerald drew the second-ranked wrestler in her weight class, and though she was defeated, it wasn’t without putting up a fight. “She came here and it was unbelievable. All eyes were on Ally,” said Renz. “Just to be here for a female for the first time is a massive accomplishment. I was so proud of her.”
Ten other wrestlers joined Fitzgerald at the county championships: Jaylin Walker and Liam Fitzgerald (both at 106) Joe Mattia (126), David Vivar (132), Sean Curley (138), Liam Clarke (145), Tyler Ippolito (152), Nate Stewart (160), Kyle Serro (182) and Jesse Singh (220.)
Serro and Singh earned All-County status by finishing in fourth place and sixth place, respectively, at Farmingdale after pinning their opponents in their opening matches. “They’re both captains and seniors,” said Renz. “It was a nice way to go off.”
Renz also lauded the final performances of Curley and Mattia, both longtime wrestlers who ended their Lynbrook careers on a high note. “They’re also two of my seniors and both captains,” he said. “They wrestled real tough. Wrestled their best these last two weekends.”
Though no Lynbrook wrestlers will likely qualify for the upcoming state championships, Renz, speaking to the Herald from Farmingdale State College on the final evening of the county championships, expressed gratification with his team’s accomplishments this season. “From a team perspective, we always do well at the end of the season and this year was no exception,” the coach said. “I only went in [to the county qualifiers] with 14 kids and that’s just a reflection on the kids. How hard they work, all the time they put in, balancing nutrition, exercise and academics. I was very proud and happy for all the kids on my team.”