Pierson student Kevin Heine was the lone representative at the Division I Suffolk County Wrestling Tournament for East Hampton, and his stay in the 220-pound bracket was short-lived.
Heine did not make it to the second day of wrestling, losing in the first round of wrestlebacks on February 12 at Hofstra University. He started off in what is called the “pigtails” of the bracket, meaning he would have to wrestle an extra match than most of the wrestlers on his journey to the finals. Heine won his first match, pinning Jon Wilson of East Islip in 2:32. That win set up a match with third-seed John Vigh of Sachem East. Heine was pinned by Vigh in 1:28, and then had to wait to see if Vigh would win his next match—a win by Vigh meant Heine would move into the wrestlebacks, while a loss by Vigh in that next round would end Heine’s season.
Luckily for Heine, Vigh beat his next opponent, Vin Feola of Walt Whitman, to advance to the semifinals. So Heine moved into the wrestlebacks where he faced Feola, but Feola was able to pin Heine in 3:25, ending his run for good. Heine was up 2-0 on Feola before getting pinned.
While it was a short showing for Heine and for the Bonackers in general at the tournament, it was still an overall successful season for the Pierson athlete, who only joined the wrestling program initially at the insistence of a fellow Pierson student. Heine competed with success throughout the year in the 220-pound weight class, despite the fact that he is very undersized for the class, and may have been more suited to 195 or even 182 pounds. But East Hampton head coach Steve Tseperkas felt that Heine’s wrestling style was better suited to 220 pounds, and also believed that competing in that class gave Heine the best chance to make it to counties, and he was proved right.
It was the first trip to counties for Heine, a senior, who has been part of the East Hampton wrestling program since he was in middle school. Heine was one win short of qualifying for counties last year, and said after coming so close to getting there last season, he was determined to make it there in his final year.
East Hampton head coach Steve Tseperkas said that overall, Heine had a great year and finished his wrestling career on a high note.
“Kevin was actually in a really good spot in the bracket,” Tseperkas said. “Besides losing to John Vigh of Sachem East and Vin Feola of Walt Whitman, he had beaten everybody else in the bottom half of the bracket. If he had beaten Feola, he would have wrestled Carlos Rossy of Patchogue-Medford in the last round of wrestlebacks to be All-County, who he beat already in the finals of the Armstrong Cup.”
Tseperkas pointed out that Heine was only 5-10 last year, and this year, he finished with a 25-10 record and earned All-League honors. Heine also led the team in wins and pins (18), and he made it to the finals of three tournaments during the regular season and was champion in two of them.