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Dec 4, 2017 4:18 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Season Preview: Hurricanes Wrestling In The Mix With Best Teams In County

Tyler Skala is a key returning wrestler for Westhampton Beach this season. DREW BUDD
Dec 4, 2017 4:18 PM

For years, Suffolk County has had a reputation for excellence in Division I wrestling, one it has earned by dominating at the New York State tournament season after season. Of the 22 teams in the county that are ranked in the top 15, or earned honorable mention in the preseason rankings on longislandwrestling.org, five compete in League VI—including Westhampton Beach.

“This league is the best league in New York state, without any argument,” said longtime Westhampton Beach head coach Paul Bass earlier this week. His Hurricanes are one of six Suffolk teams that earned honorable mention—along with fellow League VI opponent Miller Place—while League VI squads Rocky Point (ranked first), Islip (ranked ninth) and Elwood/John Glenn (ranked 10th) were also on the list.

Bass isn’t big on predictions, so he won’t say where he thinks his team will finish, but he is confident that his squad can be competitive every time it sets foot on the mat. He admitted his team’s fortunes are dependent on how quickly newcomers and underclassmen can adjust to the varsity level in such a tough league, and added that recent scheduling changes will make quick adjustments even more crucial. Two seasons ago, the addition of a Suffolk County dual meet tournament—set up before the county individual tournament—meant teams had to start league matches a week earlier than usual. And this year, the schedule was bumped another week early, thanks to the addition of a New York State dual meet tournament. It means that the Hurricanes will have three League VI matches before Christmas—against Miller Place, Islip and Sayville.

Prior to the addition of the county and state dual meet tournaments, teams didn’t have to face league opponents until after Christmas, warming up for those important matches in non-league dual meets and tournaments. It’s a key change because after Christmas, wrestlers are granted a growth allowance that means they can be a few pounds heavier than the weight they certified at in November. Essentially, it grants coaches more options to move wrestlers around and have leeway in the lineups they create.

While the ability of some wrestlers to adjust to the varsity level is still up in the air, Bass has several experienced returning wrestlers who he expects to lead the team all season long. The biggest name on the roster is junior Liam McIntyre, entering his fifth year on varsity. McIntyre finished fifth in the county at 160 pounds last year, and was ranked second to North Babylon’s David Miele-Estrella at 170 pounds to start the current season. McIntyre certified at 170 pounds but may compete at 182. He will captain the team along with senior Tyler Skala, who is ranked fifth in the county at 120 pounds and, like McIntyre, was the runner-up in his weight class at the league tournament last season.

Liam’s younger brother, freshman Gavin McIntyre, was ranked fifth at 99 pounds to start the season, and should have a strong year. Sophomore Jay Montagna (120 pounds) and freshman Jackson Hulse (138/145) are returning All-League wrestlers. Other returning and expected starters include Lucas Villareale (senior, 220), Jack Ciolino (senior, 138/145), Thatcher Cord (senior, 152), senior Brandon White (126/132), sophomore Gage Rubio (145/152), Chris Smith (sophomore, 113), Hunter Burling (junior, 160), Luke Magee (junior, 170), Larry Citarelli (junior, 170), Ryan Darbyshire (junior, 132/138), Grant Skala (freshman, 99), Suraj Patel (junior, 120/126), and Jake Kass (junior, 120/126).

Bass will he joined on the sidelines and in practice this season by assistant coach and Westhampton Beach wrestling alum Ethan Mitchell, as well as a new assistant coach in Connor Miller, an East Hampton alum. Miller is filling in for Pete DeTore, a Westhampton Beach wrestling alum who was a coach for the last several seasons but is returning to competitive action this winter after a seven-year hiatus. DeTore, who is 26, initially joined the wrestling team at Hofstra University after graduation, but was unable to finish his teaching degree at the time and took several years off from school. He is returning to the mats for C.W. Post and will be reunited with Dan McClure, a 2016 graduate who is also on the team.

Westhampton Beach opened the season last weekend at the Take Down Autism Duals at William Floyd High School, going 2-2. The Hurricanes beat Riverhead, 49-34, and Floyd, 53-22, with losses to Mattituck (59-24) and Smithtown West (50-27). Liam McIntyre was 4-0, with two pins, a technical fall and a major decision. Tyler Skala was 3-1 with two pins, and Montagna was 4-0 with three pins and a win by forfeit.

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Good Luck boys, Wishing you all a healthy and pain-free season. Be Smart, Stay strong and
Be healthy! " Enjoy"
By Mendo (1), Westhampton on Dec 5, 17 11:12 PM