For the first time in four years, a Southampton wrestler reached the finals of the Suffolk County Division II Championships.
Anthony Medina, a senior, glided his way through to the finals of the 195-pound weight class where he met with Mount Sinai’s Mike Sabella. The two went after each other from the opening whistle, and Medina took an inadvertent headbutt from Sabella, which left him with a shiner that was forming underneath his left eye after the match. Dazed, Medina got caught in a cradle and was pinned in 34 seconds.
It was not the way Medina, or Southampton head coach Lester Ware, wanted his wrestling career to end, but they were both happy with his overall results. After going 15-11 and placing third in the county last season, Medina finished this season with a 23-11 record, and he ended the team’s drought of not having a wrestler in the county finals.
The last time Southampton had wrestlers reach the finals was 2015, when Colby Lenahan, Chris Osufsen and Peter Strassfield all won county titles, and Mitchell Pena placed second.
“I thought Anthony had a very good tournament for himself. Nothing to be ashamed of,” Ware said. “After years of having a lot of kids in the finals, that’s the first time in a long time we had someone in the finals, and he had to win a big match in the semifinals to get there. I’m proud of him.”
After a first-round bye, Medina pinned Elwood/John Glenn’s Ryan Kang in 3:29, then pinned Shoreham/Wading River’s Jake Ekert, who was seeded second, in 5:46 in the semis. Medina was seeded third.
Brad Bockhaus was the only other Mariner to place at counties, settling for a fourth-place finish at 220 pounds. A freshman, Bockhaus has seemed to master the side headlock takedown, and he used it on three separate occasions on Friday to advance in the wrestlebacks and into the consolation finals. Bockhaus seemed to want to try to continue that against Mattituck’s Tyler Marlborough, but Marlborough continually blocked any attempts. At one point, Bockhaus was inexplicably called for stalling, giving Marlborough a 3-2 lead, which he sat on to take third place. Ware was upset about the stalling call and thought Bockhaus could have been in the finals, but he’s excited about what the future holds for Bockhaus.
Ware expected a little bit more out of both Billy Bockhaus (152 pounds), the team’s only other senior, and Ben Brown (170). Bockhaus reached the “blood round” but was pinned in 30 seconds by Mattituck’s Malachi Boisseau. Brown was seeded third in his weight class but faced Marcos Arriola of Center Moriches in the quarterfinals, who Ware said just seemed to have Brown’s number this season. Brown lost for the third time against Arriola, but then fought back in the wrestlebacks and reached the “blood round,” where he eventually lost to Joe Gaudiello of Hampton Bays, 7-0.
Alex Boyd (120), Johan Moraxtitla (182) and Zayden Michel (220) all competed well, Ware said, and got a good taste of their first county tournament competition. All three, along with Brad Bockhaus and Brown, are expected to help lead the team into its next season of transition.
“Everyone else is back. That’s a real positive,” Ware said. “We have a lot of ninth graders, a couple of 10th graders. Zayden is an eighth-grader.
“The team is progressing,” Medina said. “They’re getting better and I hope all of them stick with it for the rest of their years.”