The Hampton Bays High School wrestling program saw two county finalists and a fourth-place finisher at the Suffolk County Division II Championships at Center Moriches High School on Saturday, not a complete disaster by any means. But when expectations were to finish with many more place winners, it could be a deemed a disappointing tournament for the Baymen.
“Very disappointed,” Hampton Bays head coach Rafael Lievano said. “We came in light this year and we finished with just 20 guys. There were a bunch of guys that came up big today, like some of the younger guys. But we’ve got a bunch of guys who are young and I don’t get them early enough and I just wish I had them a little longer. We’re a light team and we certainly paid for it today.”
Hampton Bays placed eighth out of nine teams with 75 total points. Mattituck won the county championship with 231.5 points.
Cody Nolan, in the 182-pound weight class, and Kevin Giron (285 pounds) both reached the county finals for the Baymen. Nolan, facing Babylon’s Brian Loskamp in the finals, was battling the flu for days before the tournament. He couldn’t find a spot to do any type of shot or move on Loskamp and was called for multiple stalls during the match, which could be attributed to sluggishness due to his illness. Down 3-2 in the second period, Nolan got in a bad spot and was slammed to the mat by Loskamp, then pinned Nolan at 2:16.
“I wanted to work on my shot a little bit. I didn’t go through with it, that’s where I messed up,” Nolan said. “I was stunned. I didn’t think I was down right away. But the ref saw the pin so he called it.”
Lievano said there was a certain position he spoke to Nolan about not getting in, but because he really couldn’t do anything, Lievano thought that maybe Nolan tried to force something but instead got caught in a bad spot.
Giron was bumped up to 285 pounds after wrestling most of the season at 195 and 220 pounds. Giron was clearly smaller than most of his matches in the tournament, especially in the semifinals against Kyle Fiske of Port Jefferson.
In that match, Giron and Fiske battled to a 1-1 tie after three periods so they went to overtime. It took two overtime periods before Giron could score a point with an escape to win 2-1 and advance to the finals, but it was clear the match took a lot out of him.
The finals was a rematch of last year’s 220-pound county final between Giron and Southampton’s Peter Strassfield, which Giron won by pin in 58 seconds. Strassfield, a true heavyweight, was too much to handle for Giron this time around. Strassfield was leading, 9-2, before he eventually pinned Giron with 48 seconds remaining in the match.
While Giron said he felt good going into the finals, Lievano thought he was tired. “He’s wrestling up against bigger guys,” he said. “We took a chance putting him there to get our 220-pound guys in, hoping that [Eddie Perez] would get in there and it just didn’t work out. These guys are a lot bigger than him.
“The great thing about Kevin is that he’s never going to quit the entire match,” he continued. “He never quit the whole way through. It just didn’t happen. Last year, he had a great tournament, this year … it’s just the way it goes sometimes. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”
“I was going up against new people so I didn’t know what was coming at me,” Giron said. “I just gave it a shot. I listened to coach, I went up a weight class, two weight classes. I thought it was right. I listened to him last year and it took me somewhere so I listened to my coach.”
Victor Alamo was able to place fourth in the 126-pound weight class. He won his first two matches of the day but then lost by tech fall to Mattituck’s Brian Pelan in the semifinals. Alamo pinned his first wrestleback opponent but then lost his consolation final match, 5-4, to Dylan McGovern of Bayport/Blue Point. Alamo almost came back to tie that match in the final seconds, but couldn’t escape McGovern’s grasp and took the fourth-place finish.
Lievano said he was encouraged by some of his younger wrestlers, such as Lucas Kraus (99), Shawn Bowen (113), Travis Flynn (132), Ralph Oswald (138) and John Nolan (145). With Giron and Eddie Perez graduating in June, Lievano would like to see some of his young wrestlers step up next season.
“I feel like we took a step backward today, but we’ll come back next season behind Cody and Victor and we’ll see what happens,” he said. “We have something to build on, I just always feel like we’re rebuilding. We’re never at that top.”