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Feb 11, 2019 3:54 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Bayman Willy Kraus Wins County Wrestling Title

Willy Kraus is mobbed by his Baymen teammates after winning the 126-pound county final. DREW BUDD
Feb 12, 2019 9:58 AM

Willy Kraus’s face said it all late Friday night.

After wrestling off and on for the past eight hours or so, the Hampton Bays junior had the scrapes, bumps and bruises to show for a long day.

He also had, through tears of joy welling up in his eyes, a smile from ear to ear. He had just become a county champion.

Kraus defeated Shoreham/Wading River’s Eddie Troyano, 3-1, to claim the 126-pound title at the Suffolk County Division II Championships at Center Moriches High School. He is the first county champion from Hampton Bays since Ralph Oswald’s memorable run four years ago.

“It’s amazing. I can’t believe it,” Kraus said, just minutes after his win.

Kraus had never faced Troyano prior to Friday night’s county final, but he did his research and found that the senior Wildcat likes to score points, so Kraus did what he could to limit Troyano’s chances of doing that. After neither wrestler scored in the first period, Troyano scored a point off an escape to take a 1-0 lead, but Kraus didn’t waste any time, scoring two points with a single-leg takedown to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. With about 45 seconds remaining in the match, Troyano opted to let Kraus go to a neutral position, giving up a point in the hopes of being able to score a takedown to tie the match. But Kraus didn’t allow any clean shots and held on to the 3-1 advantage.

An excited Kraus then ran over to his Baymen teammates, where he was mobbed.

Troyano was reportedly dealing with a torn labrum in his right shoulder for much of the season, but what a lot of people may not have known, Hampton Bays head coach Mike Lloyd said, was that Kraus was dealing with a strained ligament in one of his knees for much of the second half of the season as well. It limited his time in practice and he really hadn’t wrestled in a competitive environment for weeks, so how his knee was going to hold up was a big question coming into the tournament.

“Because of that we didn’t want to put too much on it in rehab,” Lloyd said of the injury. “To make sure that he was at 100 percent.”

Joe Gaudiello (170 pounds) and Kevin Eras (285) both placed fourth in their respective weight classes. Gaudiello, a junior, reached the semifinals where he lost to eventual county champion Ethan Schmidt of Mattituck. He defeated Southampton’s Ben Brown, 7-0, in the “blood round” to reach the consolation, or placement, round, where he lost a tight 4-3 contest to Mount Sinai’s Vincent Valente.

Eras, a first-year senior wrestler, won two wrestleback matches, including a 33-second pin over Shoreham’s Paul Reilly in the “blood round” to reach consolations. Eras fought hard against Mt. Sinai’s Dave Mazella, but was eventually pinned in 4:42 to settle for fourth place.

Nick Corredor (138) and Kevin Osorio (160) came close to reaching the placement rounds. Osorio lost his first match to Mattituck’s Antonio Jimenez, who eventually placed third, but he was able to reach the “blood round” against Elwood/John Glenn’s Miguel Gonzalez where he lost a close match, 4-2. Corredor also lost his first match to a wrestler who eventually placed third in Shoreham’s Sean Miller, and reached the “blood round” where he lost a 6-4 decision to Danny Hromada of Center Moriches.

The Baymen were without a pair of starters in Nick Pacheco and Sebastian Valenzuela after both suffered concussions in a skiing accident a few weeks back. While Lloyd was disappointed about that, he was happy with how his team competed overall, and that he got his first county champion in Kraus. Hampton Bays finished eighth out of 10 teams in the county.

“With the program as a whole trying to turn a corner, I see this, with the number of guys I have coming back, as a step in the right direction. And I hope that a lot of the other guys, granted they’re in that same class of juniors who didn’t have as much success, that maybe next year they’ll all catch up and have that same success,” Lloyd said.

Kraus will now turn his attention to the New York State Division II Championships at the Times Union Center in Albany on February 22 and 23. It will be his first time at states but he said his goal is to win a few matches and place. Lloyd explained that how Kraus does will depend on how he can control his nerves and emotions with it being his first time.

“The first time around is difficult, which is why for him to be in the same position now is great because he has a better mechanism to cope with it, and each time you do it, it gets easier,” he said.

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By Flannery66 (9), Hampton Bays on Feb 12, 19 12:38 PM
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