An infusion of youth into Riverhead’s wrestling room this season has the Blue Waves’ future looking bright.
“We are young,” said Riverhead coach Wade “Rocky” Davey. “We do have 16 ninth graders, which is great. It’s the most we’ve had in years. And most of them are very tough.”
While the Blue Waves are short on seniors, they do return a solid core of wrestlers, many of whom had successful seasons last year on the varsity. Leading the pack is Ethan Zaweski, a league champion last year at 103 pounds. He lost in the first round of the county tournament.
Zaweski, a junior, will face a tough challenge this season jumping up to 120 pounds.
“He looks good, but it’s a hard jump,” Davey said. “120, that’s a man’s weight class. It’s going to be a tough haul for him but I think he will certainly take on the challenge.”
The Blue Waves’ strength rests in the lower and mid weights.
At 113, the Blue Waves return sophomore Ryan Gevinski, who was a runner-up in the league finals last year at 96.
“He’s another guy making the jump into the man’s world,” Davey said. “But he’s very tough.”
Davey said with so many young wrestlers, the Blue Waves have a lot of depth at the lower weights, going as many as four or five deep in some classes.
Two freshmen will wrestle at the first two weight classes, Ed Mayta at 99 and Cody Weiss at 106. It’ll be tougher task for Mayta after the lowest weight class increased from 96 to 99. Davey said he’ll likely be undersized against most of the wrestlers he’ll face. But he has plenty of experience to help prepare for the challenge.
“He probably has more matches under his belt coming into ninth grade than any other wrestler I’ve ever coached,” Davey said.
Junior Keith Miles will wrestle 126. Davey said he’s gotten a lot better since last year. Sophomore Jaquan Jefferson returns to wrestle 132. Dan Normoyle, a fourth-place finisher in the league last year at 125, returns to wrestle 138 this season.
The 145 and 152 weights are still up for grabs, Davey said. The Blue Waves have depth at 160 and will likely start off with Charles Bartlett, who wrestled 152 a year ago.
“He placed in most every tournament we had last year, but he a had a bad league tournament,” Davey said. “He’s pretty tough.”
Eugene Hyland makes a big jump from 145 to 171 this year. He’s in his second year on varsity. Josh Blom, a senior in his fourth year on varsity, will wrestle at 182.
“He’s done a lot of improving,” Davey said.
The 195 weight is still a question mark and at 220 the Blue Waves will look to Shawn Yarborough, who’s coming down from the heavyweight this season.
“He’s gotten a lot stronger,” Davey said. “He’ll be much better there. Last year he was a 230-pounder wrestling 285-pounders.”
So far the 285 weight also remains a question mark.
The Blue Waves finished fourth in the league tournament last year. They open the season this weekend in a tournament at East Hampton.
They’ll wrestle a non-league dual meet against Centereach Dec. 21 and open up league dual meets in January.