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Dec 4, 2018 6:50 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East Hampton Wrestling Hopes To Continue To Take Positive Steps This Winter

The East Hampton wrestling team will be led by: top row, left to right, Brian Barrera, Marco Rabanal and Martin Soto; and, bottom row, left to right, Santiago Maya and Caleb Peralta. DREW BUDD
Dec 4, 2018 9:31 AM

The East Hampton wrestling team made vast improvements last season, winning its first dual meet in three years to go along with its first league champion in 15 years.

Anthony Piscitello, who took over for Steve Tseperkas as head coach in 2016, is hoping the positive trend continues this season. While Andreas Koutsogiannis, who was the team’s first league champ since Jerrell Walker in 2003, has graduated, Piscitello is intrigued by what Santiago Maya and Caleb Peralta will do as freshmen in their second stints at the varsity level this season.

“Those are two kids who I think will be the foundation for this program as it goes on,” he said. “I think Santi has a lot of promise. He’s lighter. He’s only going to be going 106 [pounds] this year. Caleb is a little heavier so it’s kind of going to be a little rougher sledding I would say for him, but he should fit into his own as the season goes on.”

Although some of them are first-year wrestlers, East Hampton will have a good amount of seniors on the team this season to help Maya and Peralta lead the team. Brian Barrera (170), Marco Rabanal (160), Vincenzo Salsedo (170) and Martin Soto (182) are all returning and gained a good amount of experience last season and Piscitello said sophomore Ben Barris (138) is another returning wrestler he expects to do well this season. East Hampton did not have a wrestler ranked this preseason, but, Piscitello said Maya has a good shot to be ranked at 106 at some point this season. Eastport South Manor senior Michael Falek is currently ranked sixth in the weight class but Maya defeated him last season.

Maya is really the only true lightweight the Bonackers have this season. Piscitello said he’ll most likely have to take forfeits at 99, 113 and 120 but he should be able to fill out the rest of the weights.

“We’ll do our best to try and fill out as many as we can, but there’s definitely going to be a couple of holes that we have, which has been the case the past few years,” he said.

East Hampton will continue to compete in League V which has a bit of a new look this season. Eastport South Manor, which won League IV last season, moved down to League V and is an early favorite to win it. Half Hollow Hills West has also dropped down while last season’s League V champion Hauppauge is back along with East Islip, Kings Park and West Babylon, which the Bonackers defeated last season for their lone victory.

East Hampton hosted its annual Sprig Gardner Memorial Tournament on Saturday. Maya (106), David Peralta (182) and Aniello Facendola (285) all placed fourth in their respective weight classes. The Bonackers will host West Babylon in their first league dual-meet on December 12 at 6:15 p.m. They will also compete at local South Fork tournaments in Hampton Bays at the Doc Fallot Memorial Dual Meet Tournament on December 15 and the Cory Hubbard Duals at Westhampton Beach on January 5.

“It’s a decent mix of 18 guys. Eleven of those 18 are returners to the program where I’ve have had them now for three years, except for the freshmen, who I’ve had for two years,” Piscitello said of his team. “They’re taking to it pretty quickly. I hope they grow and learn as the season goes on and that they take everything with a grain of salt because it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be like they’re just going to step on the mat and they’re going to start dominating people.

“That’s why we joined in the Hampton Bays Duals, because it’s a good opportunity to make sure they’re going to get at least four matches on the day,” he continued. “Same thing with Cory Hubbard. That’s a little bit more difficult of a tournament, but it’s later in the season and at least I know guys are going to get three, four or five matches in the day.”

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