In his third season running the Valley Stream Central varsity wrestling team, Sean Tobin continues to pour the foundation for the future along with Chris Carbajal, who coaches at the middle school level.
Tobin and Carbajal, both Valley Stream South graduates and former grapplers, are not only looking to build the Eagles into contenders but all programs within the district.
“The Valley Stream youth wrestling program [www.valleystreamwrestling.com] is a non-profit organization,” said Tobin, who noted it was founded last season by Carbajal. “They meet two nights a week from November to March at the wrestling room at Memorial Junior high school,” he added. “The goal is to teach kids the sport of wrestling and to instill in them the values of hard work and determination, necessary to succeed. We set out to develop a feeder program for the three high schools in Valley Stream. We hope to see all three schools compete at the highest level.”
Numbers have been an issue at Central long before Tobin took over, but just like at the youth level, the digits are on the rise. “We handed out flyers all over the district and trying to get everyone who has interest involved,” Tobin said. “The numbers increased by 80 percent in one year.”
The Eagles had one freshman on the roster during Tobin’s first season. That’s current junior Joscar Rivera, one of the leaders in the room who competes at 138 and 145 pounds. This season they’re boasting 14 freshmen, although not all are ready for prime time. Tobin said he’ll strategically pick spots to get the youngsters into the varsity lineup, but at the very least they’ll see action in JV matches.
“As long as they stick with it and work hard, I expect the freshman class to do well,” Tobin said.
Justin Gonzalez (106 pounds) and Justin Sierra (120/126) are two ninth-graders off to impressive starts. Tobin said Gonzalez is “still very raw but has a bright future.” Sierra is strong for his size and brings plenty of toughness to the mat, the coach noted.
Still, the Eagles will lean heavily on Rivera and senior Renan Charles-Pierre (195) to lead the way. Tobin said he hopes the team can give Garden City and Calhoun a run for its money in dual meets.
Charles-Pierre brings All-County and perhaps championship hopes after falling just short of finishing in Nassau’s top six at 195 last season. He lost a hard-fought 1-0 match to Mepham’s Matt Hegi in the round to place. Hegi went on to finish fourth.
“Renan is great on his feet and deceptively quick,” Tobin explained. “I expect him to contend for a spot in the county finals. He’s a great example for the younger guys. He’s a good student and works hard.”
Charles-Pierre won 10 of his first 12 matches this season and reached the finals of the Ralph Jansson Tournament hosted by Valley Stream North on Dec. 15.