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Dec 4, 2018 6:45 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Seniors Anthony Medina, Billy Bockhaus To Lead Southampton Wrestling Team This Season

Southampton wrestling will be made up of both seasoned and young wrestlers, including: top row, left to right, junior Ben Brown, seniors Anthony Medina and Billy Bockhaus, and freshman Brad Bockhaus; and, bottom row, left to right, eighth-grader Zayden Michel and freshman Alex Boyd. DREW BUDD
Dec 4, 2018 10:41 AM

The Southampton wrestling team is hoping that it can take a step forward this season with the majority of its team returning from a season ago.

The Mariners have been in rebuild mode since losing Rafal Rokosz and Peter Strassfield to graduation in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and have had a bevy of underclassmen, mostly seventh and eighth graders, on the team since then. But this year those wrestlers enter their freshman seasons and head coach Lester Ware is optimistic they can continue to make the necessary improvements to help the team be successful.

Southampton will be led by a pair of seniors this season in Billy Bockhaus and Anthony Medina, the latter of which is the team’s only returning All-County wrestler from a year ago, having placed third at 195 pounds, and he’s the only Mariner that was ranked this season, slotting in second behind Port Jefferson senior Harry Cona at 195. Derek Espinosa placed fourth last season but has since graduated, along with Colby Gill, and Mickey Brown, a young talented wrestler, who transferred to St. Anthony’s. Bockhaus was All-County as an eighth-grader but has suffered multiple injuries the past three seasons. If he can stay on the mat this season, Ware thinks he’ll be in the mix for another All-County spot either at 152 or 160 pounds.

The program’s up-and-coming wrestlers fill out the rest of the team and are led by freshmen Brad Bockhaus, Billy’s younger brother, and Alex Boyd, and eighth-grader Zayden Michel, who pinned all five of his opponents at the Herricks Tournament on Saturday. All three have had their fair share of success at the youth level. Ware is waiting for that to translate at the varsity level. Brad Bockhaus and Michel will compete either at 195 or 220 and Boyd will compete in a competitive 113-pound weight class. Ware is also excited about Ben Brown, a junior who has transferred in from upstate Buffalo and should compete at 170 pounds, and he has his eye on a few others. There are more than 25 wrestlers on the team this season, the most in Ware’s tenure as head coach.

Southampton will compete in Division II/League VIII once again. Division II, as it has the past few seasons with the state changing its enrollment numbers, continues its facelift this season with perennial Division I powerhouse Elwood/John Glenn moving down to Division II/League VII, following Mount Sinai, which had moved down last season and won the DII county title. Bayport/Blue Point, Mattituck and Shoreham/Wading River make up the rest of League VII. The Mariners won’t have to compete against any of those teams in regular season dual-meet matches, but they will have to contend with them at the county meet.

As far as League VIII is concerned, Center Moriches returns a dozen or so seniors to a team that placed second in the county last season. Ware thinks the Red Devils have a team that can actually place in the state tournament and are the cream of the crop when it comes to the league, but after that it’s even, with Babylon, Hampton Bays and Port Jeff rounding out the league.

Southampton has its first dual meet scheduled for this Thursday, December 6, in a non-league bout with Stony Brook and it will compete in a tournament this Saturday at Bay Shore High School. The Mariners don’t have their first league meet until December 19 at Center Moriches at 4:30 p.m.

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8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser