As well as the Riverhead High School wrestling team did at the South Side Tournament this past weekend, coach Wade “Rocky” Davey realizes there is so much more room for improvement.
The Blue Waves finished third in the tournament, boasted three champions and three other finalists as well as another four wrestlers who reached the semifinals. But Davey has seen so much more potential in his Blue Waves.
“We’ve got to improve dramatically by the end of the year if we’re going to have a good showing at the league tournament,” he said. “We’re not winning all of the matches that we can. We’re young. It’s the attitude and confidence because they are young. They don’t have it yet.”
Attitude, Davey said, is especially important. “You’ve just got to put in a lot of work to do your best,” he said.
The Blue Waves began to take some important first steps over the weekend. Riverhead accrued 205 points in the tournament, behind champion East Islip (254) and Chaminade (214).
Three wrestlers paced Riverhead — Ryan Gevinski (113 pounds), Charles Bartlett (160) and Josh Blof (182) — as they won titles.
Gevinski, a sophomore who moved up two weight classes from last season, won the title match, 11-3.
“It’s a tremendous jump. That’s a big adjustment,” Davey said. “At 96 [pounds], you’re wrestling younger kids. When you’re at 113, you’re wrestling a man’s weight. He jumped two weight classes. Those are dramatic differences — the size and weight of the people.
“He goes all out in the match. He doesn’t have the muscle yet. He’s got to wrestle all out and try to outwrestle a kid to win. In some matches he will be [in] over his head.”
Bartlett, a senior, pinned his man and Davey has some high expectations of him.
“I expect him to win every time he steps out for every match,” the coach said. “He’s got to feel that he can win all the time. On some days he doubts himself and he’s got to get over that.”
Blof, a sophomore, also won by a fall. Like Gevinski, Blof also took a giant leap, going from junior varsity last season to the big time this year.
“He can build on that,” Davey said. “He is definitely going in a good direction.”
“I hate to say it, but our kids don’t have the right belief in themselves,” Davey continued. “You want to be nervous before the match, but not in a match. Wrestling should take care of that. It’s not just Josh. It’s pretty much most of the team.”
But the Blue Waves’ performance should go a long way.
“It absolutely will,” Davey said. “We finished third. Let’s make something out of it.”
The Blue Waves will be busy during the Christmas break. Riverhead meets Centereach in a non-league match on Wednesday before traveling to upper Westchester County to take on Somers High School on Dec. 29.
They begin their Suffolk County League IV schedule with a Jan. 4 dual meet against Deer Park at home.