LEAGUE IV CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Riverhead High School wrestling coach, Wade Davey, likes to break down the season into three parts. First, there are the early-season tournaments before Christmas. Then the league dual-meet season kicks into gear. The third phase of the season starts with the league tournaments, continues with the county tournament and then culminates with the state championships.
So, before the Suffolk County League IV Championships on Saturday at East Islip High School, Davey told his wrestlers that they were essentially entering a new season. “Throw everything you did away because now it’s a new season,” he said.
It’s a season in which the competition gets tougher and tougher and the stakes rise higher and higher.
Eddie Matyka was ready for it. The Riverhead junior won all four of the bouts he wrestled on Saturday, three of them by pins and the other by technical fall. One of those pins came in the 113-pound final, with the top-seeded Matyka stopping Half Hollow Hills West’s Justin Martinez in 1 minute 23 seconds.
“It was a very dominant performance,” said Davey.
Matyka, who sat out last season while coming off back surgery, has constructed a 30-4 record.
“He’s a lifetime wrestler,” Davey said. “He’s been wrestling since he was six years old. He probably got 50 matches a year. … It gives him a lot of time on the mat, a lot of experience.”
Matyka will be joined in the Section XI Division I Tournament on March 16 at Hofstra University by five other Blue Waves. The top four place winners in the league tournaments qualify for the county tournament.
Aside from Matyka, two other Riverheaders, freshman Chris Flood and senior Ryan Gevinski, reached the league finals on Saturday. Flood (23-8) was pinned by Hauppauge’s Ben Tepperman at 1:51 of the 106-pound final. “He did a great job getting to the final,” said Davey. Gevinski (25-7), lost a 4-2 decision to Hauppauge’s Ralph Cazzetta at 138.
Third-place finishes were turned in by Riverhead’s Cody Weiss (120 pounds) and Raheem Brown (170). Their teammates Kerry Thomas (99) and Justin Hansel (195) came in fourth.
Riverhead finished fourth in the team scoring with 128 1/2 points. The Blue Waves followed champion Hauppauge (302), East Islip (233) and Deer Park (149).
“It was a good performance for us,” Davey said. “Our league is a good league this year. It’s going to do very well in the county tournament.”