Hofstra University hosted the Nassau County Wrestling Championships this weekend, with 390 total wrestlers vying for an opportunity to earn a trip to the state tournament at the end of February. Fifteen of those wrestlers can now call themselves true champions.
The Wantagh Warriors took the team title with an overall score of 214 points and eight All-County wrestlers, including two champions. MacArthur finished in second with 192.50 points, nine All-County wrestlers and two champions. Plainedge (158 points), Long Beach (153.50 points) and Massapequa (145.50 points) rounded out the top five teams.
A total of 33 schools in Nassau County claimed at least one All-County wrestler. Here is how a few of our Patch schools fared on the weekend.
Team Points: 214 (1st), All-County: 8, Champions: 2- Joe Kavanagh (189), Tom Hall (215)
Wantagh had a successful weekend with Kavanagh and Hall each winning by decisions. Kavanagh held off Conner Wetzel of Massapequa in the final seconds, 4-2. Hall followed his teammate in the next finals match with a 12-8 win over previously undefeated Andrew Danzinger of East Meadow. Danny McDevitt was the runner-up at 125 pounds after falling to champion Johnny Pellegrino of Levittown Division.
“It is exciting to win. It’ll be my third time heading to States,” Kavanagh said. “If I keep my head on straight I think I can continue to do well, taking it one match at a time and do what I can.”
Team Points: 192.50 (2nd), All-County: 9, Champions: 2-Chris Perez (130), Brian Conrad (140)
MacArthur finished the weekend with the most All-County wrestlers, highlighted by Conrads’ tough win over Mike Nigro of Plainedge by decision, 6-5. Chris Perez took down Rudy Lanzillotta of Massapequa, 9-1, for his second straight Nassau County title. Angelo Rella and Joe Cataldo each finished in second place for the Generals.
“My kids wrestled well. We knew going in that we had the potential to rise up,” MacArthur head coach Rob Paletta said. “I think we fell a little bit short overall, but we really worked hard here.”
Team Points: 153.50 (4th), All-County: 5, Champions: 3- Krishna Sewkumar (103), Dylan Palacio (145), Adam DeJesus (152)
Long Beach crowned the most champions out of any other school in the tournament. Sewkumar defated his teammate, Mark Raghunandan, with a pin in 5:32 after trailing 2-1 for most of the match. Palacio beat Chris Sarro of Massapequa by a 7-3 decision in a highly anticipated 145-pound final. DeJesus followed his teammate with a 4-1 decision over Jesse Bader of Calhoun.
“It was the best we could’ve expected,” Long Beach head coach Ray Adams said. “Our goal is to win the state title and that is a possibility with three and potentially four guys up there.”
Palacio avenged a loss in last years’ 140-pound county final to earn his trip to Albany for the State Tournament.
“It was a great win. I had the mindset that nobody was taking what was mine,” Palacio said. “Last year, I had it stolen from me and it did not feel good at all. I was reminded every second before this match that I knew it wasn’t going to happen again.”
Team Points: 145.50 (5th), All-County: 6, Champions: none
Massapequa featured three wrestlers in the finals, but all fell by tough decisions to their opponents. The Nassau County Dual Meet Champion Chiefs had a solid weekend despite the rough ending. Rudy Lanzillotta lost to MacArthur’s Perez at 130 pounds, 9-1. Chris Sarro fell to Long Beach’s Palacio for the second time this season at 145 pounds, 7-3. Conner Wetzel nearly tied up his match in the final seconds against Wantagh’s Kavanagh at 189 pounds, but fell by a score of 4-2.
“All three guys in the finals had tough matches but I thought they went out with class and represented themselves well,” Massapequa head coach Joe Catalanotto said. “I am really happy with how all of my guys did.”
Team Points: 87 (6th), All-County: 4, Champions: 1- Johnny Pellegrino (125)
Levittown Division finished up their weekend highlighted by a big win from Johnny Pellegrino over Danny McDevitt of Wantagh by decision, 4-2. Juan Carlos Diaz finished as a runner-up at 171 pounds after falling to Andrew Jones of Plainedge, 7-2. Pellegrino and Diaz finished third and fourth, respectively, in last year’s tournament.
“It feels good to win and I am just going to keep training hard and keep going,” Pellegrino said. “Everyone just kept me going. My coach kept working me hard and was very inspirational to me.”
Team Points: 78.50 (7th), All-County: 4, Champions: none
Farmingdale had three wrestlers finish in fourth place over the weekend. Jovanny Concepcion took fourth at 145 pounds, Ben Rosen finished strong after initially losing in the quarterfinals at 171 pounds and Brendan Tenny placed at 285 pounds. Josh Jeannoute took sixth place at 152 pounds.
Team Points: 78 (T-8th), All-County: 3, Champions: none
East Meadow featured one wrestler in the finals, Andrew Danzinger at 215 pounds, who finished in fourth place in the Counties last year and hoped to come out on top after going 34-0 this past season. Danzinger made a late charge against Tom Hall of Wantagh, but fell in the finals by a decision, 12-8.
Sal Vallone finished in fourth place at 103 pounds and Evan Pantofel took fifth place at 160 pounds for the Jets.
Team Points: 66 (12th), All-County: 2, Champions: 1- Will Montgomery (119)
Seaford placed two wrestlers, including top-seeded Will Montgomery who took down Mike Lofrese of Garden City in the 119-pound final, 10-4. Montgomery took second place at 112 pounds last year and won at 96 pounds two years ago. This will be his third trip to the State Tournament as last year he qualified as a wild card selection.
Ryan Harding finished in third place at 160 pounds after winning four of his five matches.
“He [Lofrese] caught me a little off-guard in the first period but I woke up and pulled away,” Montgomery said. “The first two times I was at States, I didn’t wrestle the way I wanted to, but hopefully this year I will get it.”
Team Points: 55.50 (17th), All-County: 3, Champions: none
Calhoun had an impressive showing this weekend. Jesse Bader narrowly fell to Long Beach’s DeJesus in the 152-pound final by a 4-1 decision. Nick Pititto took fourth place at 189 pounds after winning five of his seven matches. Sam Gorinsky finished in fifth place at 171 pounds.
“I think I shattered some dreams today after not even being seeded and finishing where I did,” Pititto said. “I just came out here and did whatever I had to do to win.”
Team Points: 39 (T-19th), All-County: 1, Champions: none
Joe Manna faced off against top-seeded David Ng in the 285-pound final in the weekends’ last match. Manna fought tough but fell by a decision 7-3 as Island Trees’ lone wrestler to reach the podium.
Team Points: 26.50 (25th), All-County: 1, Champions: none
Clarke had one wrestler reach All-County status over the weekend. Mike Leonard finished in fifth place at 125 pounds. He took third place last year at the same weight and third at 119 pounds two years ago at the County Tournament.
Awards: Krishna Sewkumar of Long Beach won the Most Pins in the Least Time award with four in 13 minutes and 21 seconds en route to his County title at 103 pounds. Ryan Singh, the 112-pound champion from Herricks, won the Champion of Champions award as chosen by the 15 champions of the weekend. Lastly, Will Montgomery, 119-pound champion from Seaford, won the Most Outstanding wrestler award as chosen by the Section Eight Committee.
The New York State Championships will take place at the Times Union Center on February 25-26 in Albany, New York.
96- Person (BJFK) D. Candela (Oceanside), 8-5.
103- Sewkumar (Long Beach) P. Raghunandan (Long Beach), 5:32.
112- Singh (Herricks) D. Lanzillotti (Roslyn), 7-3.
119- Montgomery (Seaford) D. Lofrese (Garden City), 10-4.
125- Pellegrino (Division) McDevitt (Wantagh), 4-2.
130- Perez (MacArthur) MD. Lanzillotta (Massapequa), 9-1.
135- Dluginski (Sewanhaka East) D. Rella (MacArthur), 3-2.
140- Conrad (MacArthur) D. Nigro (Plainedge), 6-5.
145- Palacio (Long Beach) D. Sarro (Massapequa), 7-3.
152- DeJesus (Long Beach) D. Bader (Calhoun), 4-1.
160- John (Bethpage) D. Cataldo (MacArthur), 9-1.
171- Jones (Plainedge) D. Diaz (Division), 7-2.
189- Kavanagh (Wantagh) D. Wetzel (Massapequa), 4-2.
215- Hall (Wantagh) D. Danziger (East Meadow), 12-8.
285- Ng D. Manna (Island Trees), 7-3.