A nail-biting victory against Elwood/John Glenn and a romp of East Hampton set the stage for the Westhampton Beach wrestling team to earn a share of the top spot in League VI when the squad faced off against Rocky Point last night.
Heading into the dual meet, Rocky Point was the only remaining undefeated team in the league and ranked third in New York State. Even with an upset of Rocky Point, Westhampton Beach still would need to beat Shoreham/Wading River on the road on January 25 to keep its spot at the top of the league. But regardless of a win or loss against the Wildcats in the season finale, knocking off one of the top teams in the state would be a boost for the Westhampton Beach wrestlers heading into the postseason tournaments.
“They are better than us,” Westhampton Beach head coach Paul Bass said candidly of Rocky Point. “But like I told the guys, there’s only one team in the league that can beat them [Rocky Point] and that’s us. We don’t have a lot of room to play to have a bad match. If we wrestle them 10 times, they beat us nine. But we don’t wrestle them 10 times. We only have to beat them once.”
He continued, “I will have my number one lineup in there and we have gone through a lot of adversities both on and off the mat this season and I have a really close group of kids and I feel that they will rise to the occasion. They will wrestle hard and they will wrestle well. Now, whether it’s enough to win, we’ll see. But they are going to put it all out there.”
Canes Edge Knights
In the week prior to the all-important match with Rocky Point, there was another dominant opponent the Hurricanes had to get through, and while Elwood/John Glenn is nowhere near the talent scale of Rocky Point on the state level, the Knights have put together, stringent lineups during the past several years.
When asked if the match was truly as close as the final score indicated, 35-33, coach Bass responded, “It was closer.”
Things didn’t get off as expected for the Hurricanes who gave up pins in the first three matches at 99, 106 and 113 but reflecting the never-say-die attitude of their coach, the team in green rallied back to nail down three consecutive pins, evening it up at 18-18.
The teams traded victories with the final team score essentially coming down to the 220-pound bout. If junior Jake Martin could pull off a win, the Hurricanes would go home victors. If not, it would have been left to the 285-pound bout, where the Glenn entry had both a weight and experience advantage over the Westhampton Beach entry.
Martin came up in a big way for his team, down 2-1, taking down Anthony Pino with just 20 seconds to go and hanging on for the win.
Canes Dominate Bonackers
It was evident from the first bout of the night how it was going to end as Westhampton Beach downed East Hampton, 73-6, at home on January 18.
When the match started, at 170 pounds, Hurricane Liam Bass came out and sported a 7-2 lead after one period and jumped to a 13-2 advantage after four minutes before pinning Dana Harvey 1:09 into the third period.
It was much of the same for the rest of the match as the host team won all but one of the 12 matches wrestled. East Hampton’s only points came at 285 pounds as Richie Browne pinned Daniel Irving in 2:30. The Bonackers forfeited three weight classes.
While the final team score was lopsided, coach Bass said he did expect four of the bouts to be close and was pleased that his wrestlers came out victors in all four.
The first of the four was at 145 pounds between Hurricane Christian Intorcia and Colton Kalbacher. After two periods and Intorcia leading 2-1, Kalbacher strategically chose to start the match down and managed an escape to tie the score at 2-2 with just less than a minute to go. But Intorcia managed a takedown with 20 seconds to go to take a two-point lead and Kalbacher’s escape with five seconds left made it 4-3 for the final.
At 152, Devin Hogan beat Dallas Foglia 5-1, while at 220, Jake Martin edged Kevin Heine, 9-8. Westhampton Beach’s Danny Strebel pinned Johnathan Hansen at 99 pounds in three minutes.
Canes Place Third At Kujan Tournament
The morning after the romp of East Hampton, Westhampton Beach took third at the annual Kujan Tournament at William Floyd High School. The host Colonials won the tournament followed by Smithtown East in second.
The Hurricanes crowned one champion, Ben Zeqiri at 160 pounds, and had four runner-ups; Osborne (138), Intorcia (145), Hogan (152) and Bass (170).
Finishing in third place were Strand and Pete Broccoli at 126 and 132 pounds, respectively, with Kyle Maddock (120) and Kevin Zambik (170) placing fourth. Strebel (99) and Martin (195) both took fifth while Trevor Booth (138), Aiden Kravitz (160) and Chris Chomicki (182) finished in sixth.