With injuries, illness and other off-the-mat issues plaguing the Westhampton Beach wrestling team, it would have been understandable if the team had an off week.
That’s not what happened.
Despite going into a pair of tough League VI dual meets and a competitive dual meet tournament last week, the Hurricanes delivered, winning both league meets and also going 4-1 at Commack Duals on Saturday. The wins pushed Westhampton Beach’s dual meet record to 17-4. The effort over the week had head coach Paul Bass singing his team’s praises and marveling at its capacity to handle adversity.
“They just overcome,” he said. “I’m extremely, extremely proud of how these kids handled adversity, with sickness, injury and issues outside of wrestling. They come to compete no matter what’s going on in their lives. We have dealt with a tremendous amount of issues outside wrestling, but it has brought us closer together as a team.”
Westhampton Beach started the week with a 52-22 win at Miller Place on January 9. While the Panthers aren’t considered one of the top teams in the league, the Hurricanes were missing four starters—106-pounder Alex Tanzman, the defending county champ who usually pins his opponent and gives the team crucial bonus points; senior captain Christian Intorcia (145), another strong wrestler for the Canes; Dan Irving, the team’s starter at 285 pounds; and Ben Zeqiri (160).
Bryan Corrigan (195) and Jake Martin (220) came up with big wins that day, with Corrigan beating Chris Folk-Freund, 6-4, with a takedown in overtime. Folk-Freund was ranked in the top six in the county at the start of the year. Martin beat Charles Leo, 6-1, and has been impressing Bass this season simply because he has performed well at 220 despite giving up several pounds to most of his opponents. Kyle Maddock (120), Nick Strand (126), Pete Broccoli (132), Ryan Osborne (138), and Devin Hogan (152) all won with pins for Westhampton Beach, while Aidan Kravitz (160) won with a major decision.
On Friday night, the Canes hosted a Mount Sinai team that doesn’t have the depth to win too many dual meet tournaments, but possesses a nice core of very talented wrestlers. Mount Sinai was forced to forfeit six weight classes against Westhampton Beach, which made the difference, because the Mustangs won six of the nine matches that were actually contested.
“They don’t have a lot of guys, but the kids they have are animals,” Bass said. “They have excellent kids. They don’t put anybody on the mat who is average. Every kid is good.”
Strand, Broccoli and Intorcia picked up Westhampton Beach’s wins on the mat, with Strand pinning Laurence Paul in 5:23, Broccoli getting a 12-2 major decision over Anthony Grippe, and Intorcia beating Thomas O’Brien, 9-0, in another major decision. Combined with his wins from the Commack Duals, Strand now has 20 wins on the season, all by pin. Bass also pointed out that Grippe is a defending league champion and was 10-1 this season before Broccoli beat him easily.
Westhampton Beach lost three tight matches, with Esteban Garcia losing, 6-5, to Leon Paul at 113 pounds, while Kyle Maddock lost, 9-8, to Lionel Paul at 120 pounds. At 152 pounds, Devin Hogan lost, 9-7, to Ryan Schaal.
Osborne was pinned by county runner-up Chris Powers at 138 pounds, but Bass was happy with his effort against the talented wrestler. Osborne is in his first year as a starter and has done well. He even scored the first takedown in the loss to Powers.
At the Commack Duals, Westhampton Beach beat Division II powerhouse Bayport/Blue Point, 55-15, got past Freeport, 48-25, beat Jericho, 64-15, and got past South Side, 59-24. The Hurricanes’ only loss came against host Commack, a 45-24 defeat. Commack is the sixth-ranked team on Long Island, and the Canes were without Zeqiri, Tanzman and Irving in that match.
Strand, Broccoli and Liam Bass (170) were 5-0 on the day, with both Strand and Bass amassing five pins. Martin was 4-1 with three pins and Sebastian Antonio (182) and Osborne were also 4-1 with three pins each.
Against Bayport, both Hogan and Broccoli had nice wins, beating defending Division II county champions. Hogan beat Ryan Hake, who is currently ranked in the state among Division II wrestlers in his weight class.
Bass’s wins against Deny Tavarez of Freeport and Jaison White of Jericho were impressive, considering both wrestlers are ranked in the top six in their weight classes in Nassau County. Jericho is the 10th ranked dual meet team in Nassau County.
Trevor Booth picked up his first varsity win against Jericho, pinning Giovanni Sanchez in the third period. Booth was wrestling in place of Intorcia in that match.