Eleven Westhampton Beach wrestlers qualified for the Suffolk County Division I wrestling tournament, held at Hofstra University on February 12 and Walt Whitman High School on February 13, and while senior 106-pounder Alex Tanzman was the only one to place and advance to the second day—eventually winning his second county title—head coach Paul Bass was not disappointed in the effort of his team.
Excluding Tanzman, six of 10 Hurricanes had the chance to wrestle in the second round, with only four getting knocked out after one match. Nick Strand (126), Pete Broccoli (132), Christian Intorcia (145) and Liam Bass (170) all won their first-round matches with pins before falling in the second round, which put them in the wrestlebacks.
Unfortunately for all four, they lost tough matches in the first round of wrestlebacks.
Strand pinned Justin Morena of East Islip in 2:56, and then got pinned by Islip’s Brad Wade in 3:04. Wade went on to finish sixth in the tournament. In the wrestlebacks, Strand was pinned by B.J. Jackson of Brentwood in 1:53, who ultimately finished fifth.
Broccoli’s tournament was perhaps the most heartbreaking for the Canes. Broccoli, seeded fourth, pinned Rob Ulrich of West Islip in 5:38 before losing a tough 7-5 match to Marc Gonzalez of Brentwood.
In the wrestlebacks, Broccoli was edged 3-2 by Sean O’Hagan of Sachem North. O’Hagan beat Gonzalez in the match for fifth and sixth. During the regular season, Broccoli had beaten fourth-place finisher James Matias of Rocky Point twice, indicating that he easily could have ended up on the All-County podium if a few other breaks had gone his way.
At 145, Intorcia won his first-round match, pinning Nick Coppola of Connetquot in 5:18 before losing 7-1 to second seed Brandon Aviles of Newfield, who wound up taking fourth. In the wrestlebacks, Intorcia lost 4-0 to John Donahue of Hauppauge.
At 170, Bass pinned Rey Kane of West Islip in 1:58 in the first round, before losing a 15-4 major decision to third seed Maleik Henry of Half Hollow Hills East, who ended up taking fifth. In the wrestlebacks, Bass lost 6-0 to Zac Nobre of Sachem East. Rocky Point’s Matt Guerrisi, whom Bass beat twice during the regular season, wound up finishing fourth.
Ryan Osborne (138) and Brian Corrigan (195) had two matches each on the day, but lost both. Corrigan was pinned by top seed Nick Weber of Kings Park in the first round in 1:35 and lost a close 10-7 match to Dominick Holder of Hauppauge in the wrestlebacks. Osborne was pinned by Tom Venier of Kings Park in the first round and lost 7-5 to Matt Marino of Sachem North in the wrestlebacks.
The fact that Corrigan and Osborne made the tournament was impressive. Corrigan, a senior, was in his first year back on the mats since his junior high days, after playing basketball for most of his high school career. And Osborne, a junior, was a junior varsity wrestler at the beginning of the season before earning a starting spot.
Kyle Maddock (120), Ben Zeqiri (160), Sebastian Antonio (182) and Jake Martin (220) also competed in the tournament, but lost their first-round matches.
Head coach Paul Bass said it would have been nice to have more all-county finishers, but was still pleased with the way his wrestlers represented the program.
“We had a lot of kids in tight matches,” he said. “We won a total of 10 matches, with seven pins and a major decision. They were prepared and they wrestled hard, so I really have nothing negative to say.”
The tournament marked the final time that seven Hurricanes—Strand, Broccoli, Intorcia, Corrigan, Zeqiri, Bass and Antonio, all seniors—would represent Westhampton Beach on the mats.