The Riverhead Blue Waves wrestling team was hit hard by graduation. Very hard. But any team that takes the defending Suffolk County League IV champions lightly this season is in for a rude awakening.
“Yes, we lost a lot of good kids and other teams may take us for granted, but we have a nice nucleus to work with,” Riverhead Coach Wade “Rocky” Davey said. “We should be competitive.”
Riverhead, which went 14-3 overall and 7-0 in League IV last season, returns eight wrestlers who placed in the top three in the league tournament. Seniors Christian Krumbiegel (125 pounds) and Gabe Rice (145) were league champions last season. Junior Anthony Infantolino (112) and senior Joe Menna (160) placed second, while sophomores Kevin Thomas (96) and Keith Miles (103), along with junior Shawn Yarborough (285) and senior Patrick Thomas (125) all came in third place.
In addition to the returning core of wrestlers, senior Mario Carrera (171) and sophomore Evan Primm (117) will also see plenty of action. Davey said that Carrera, after a good sophomore year, didn’t wrestle last season. He returns to the mat and Davey said, “He has looked real good.”
There are two new mandatory weight classes, 96 and 285 pounds, for dual meets this season. Riverhead will fill those classes with new and inexperienced wrestlers.
Davey said the West Babylon Eagles and North Babylon Bulldogs will be “tough to beat.” The key to the Blue Waves being successful, Davey said, “is with the demands so high, it is hard not to burn out. We have to keep our drive alive the whole year.”
Riverhead will open the season in the East Hampton Tournament on Dec. 11.
Davey is optimistic about the coming season.
“I am always optimistic, but the kids have to prove themselves,” he said. “We have something to work with. It should be fun. It will be nice to see what the kids can do.”