Any team that takes the Riverhead Blue Waves for granted this season may be in for a rude awakening.
While the Blue Waves were hit hard by graduation, the defending Suffolk County League IV champions are still loaded with talent.
The Blue Waves (14-3 last season) are led by five seniors Christian Krumbiegel (125 pounds), Patrick Thomas (125), Gabe Rice (145), Joe Menna (160), and Mario Carrera (171). Also helping out are juniors Anthony Infantolino (112) and Shawn Yarborough (285) as well as sophomores Kevin Thomas (96), Keith Miles (103) and Evan Primm (117).
“We lost a lot of good kids, but we have a nice nucleus to work with,” Riverhead Coach Wade “Rocky” Davey said. “We should be competitive.”
Davey said Krumbiegel has “an unbelievable amount of stamina and power. He is that strong, that explosive. He’s tough to beat.”
Patrick Thomas, Davey said, “is the ultimate definition of a wrestler. He eats and sleeps wrestling and he is reaping the rewards for that hard work and dedication.”
Davey said Rice has “without a doubt the best potential of the bunch. He is very polished and has a killer instinct.”
With talented teams like the North Babylon Bulldogs and West Babylon Eagles on the schedule, Davey said his team has to avoid “burning out.”
“We have to keep our focus and drive alive the whole season,” he said. “Realistically, we add something new every day, every week. It takes a while, but our goal is to build for the league tournament.”
The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats (1-21) look to be improved this season.
The Wildcats will be led by sophomore T. J. Fabian, who was a league champion at 96 pounds and placed third in the county last season.
Seniors T. J. Kluber (119), Kyle Reinhardt (160) and Mike Sanders (189) are being counted on along with juniors John Keck (145), Zak Mullen (135), Tom Valentine (140), Joe Bennett (152), Joe Longo (171) and Bryan Antonoff (215). Others expected to figure prominently in the team’s plans are sophomores Ryan Stern (130), Sean Logan (125), Kevin Warner (103), Pete Anderson (152), Dylan Busch (215) and Jason Ambrosini (285), freshmen David Keith (103), Dom Pirraglia (160), Leo McDonnell (140) and Max Goldfarb (171), and eighth-grader James Szymanski (96).
Wildcats Coach Joe Condon said his young team gained vital experience last season.
“These kids trained with the system and worked hard,” he said. “We are young, but we have a lot of experience.”
With strong opponents like the Longwood Lions, Brentwood Indians, Sachem Flaming Arrows and William Floyd Colonials, Condon is looking for more depth on his team.
“We want to keep improving and have more wins,” he said. “We want to go after league titles, county titles and state titles. But to do that, we must stay healthy and the kids have to be willing to do what it takes to be successful. It takes sacrifice and dedication. That competitive spirit has to stay where it is.”