With the regular season officially over, the Eastport South Manor wrestling team is now gearing up for the League V Tournament, which will be held on Saturday at Islip High School, starting at 9:30 a.m. There is a $6 admission to get into the gym.
ESM wrestlers will be vying for the top four placements in each weight class at the league tournament. In the past, just the top three placewinners advanced to the county tournament. This year’s Suffolk County Division I County Championships are being held at the David S. Mack Arena at Hofstra University on Sunday, February 10, and Monday, February 11. There is a $6 admission fee for each day.
There are a handful of Sharks who could find their way into the counties. Freshman John Busiello has worked his way up the Suffolk County rankings and is now second in the county at 99 pounds and has a good shot at placing in League V. Fellow freshman Nick Garone (106 pounds) will be looking to avenge last year’s showing at the league tournament, where he wasn’t able to place. He was ranked fourth in the county in his weight class as of January 21.
Juniors Travis Passaro (120) and Jimmy Leach (126) have arguably the best shots at winning league titles. Passaro is ranked second in his weight class and the rest of the wrestlers that are ranked wrestle outside of League V. Leach, ranked fifth in the county, will have to battle Islip sophomore Brad Wade (ranked third in the county) and Huntington junior Corey Jamison (ranked fourth in the county) for the league title but upsets do happen and Leach has been on fire in recent weeks. He picked up his 100th career victory in a dual meet with Sayville last week.
ESM doesn’t have a ranked wrestler after 126 pounds, but, senior Niko Bedell (285) placed fourth at last year’s league tournament, just missing an automatic bid to counties. Bedell could very well find himself in the top four placements at this year’s league tournament.
ESM finished off the League V dual meet season with a couple of losses. The Sharks lost, 40-34, at home to Sayville on January 23 then lost, 55-21, at undefeated League V regular season champion Islip on Friday. ESM then lost a non-league match, 36-29, at home to Copiague on Saturday.
ESM forfeits an average of six weight classes in each of its dual meets, which is why it went 2-5 in the league this season. But the matches that the Sharks do wrestle they usually win.
Passaro and Leach won all three of their matches last week while Garone won two, his other match was won by forfeit. Busiello wrestled only one match, due to forfeits, but he won his lone match by pin.
ESM senior Paul Lopiparo (145) picked up a victory against Copiague’s Kaliq Alexander, pinning him in 3:03. Eighth-grader Joey Busiello (106), John’s younger brother, pinned Islip’s Michael Alesi in 1:06. Sophomore Mark Zaharis (132) defeated Sayville’s Sean Velazquez, 7-2, last week and freshman Alex German (220) won his first varsity match with a 3-1 decision over Sayville’s Julian Boesch-Jones.