12/14/10 3:32pm

It was an impressive way to begin the season.

The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats wrestling team had three champions and another three wrestlers place second in the Walt Whitman Tournament on Saturday. T. J. Fabian won the 112-pound weight class while Zak Mullen was victorious at 140 and John Keck captured the 152-pound title.

Fabian, a sophomore, pinned his own teammate, Troy Miller, in the final in 59 seconds. It was Fabian’s fifth pin and gave him the tournament’s most pins in the least time.

“T. J. is always ready,” Shoreham-Wading River Coach Joe Condon said. “He works hard. He is all business.”

Condon praised Miller, a freshman, for reaching the final in his first tournament.

Mullen dominated Sachem North’s Nick Iannello, winning a 12-2 decision. Keck pinned West Babylon’s Jon Gonzalez in 31 seconds.

“John took his man down and never let him up,” Condon said. “He was so focused this was like a business trip for him.”

In addition to Miller’s runner-up finish, the Wildcats’ James Syzmanski, an eighth-grader, was pinned by Walt Whitman’s Joe Calderone at 2:49 in the 96-pound final. Condon said Syzmanski’s performance against a top-flight opponent was “excellent.”

In the 215 final, Walt Whitman’s Luke Rise pinned the Wildcats’ Bryan Antonoff at 3:49.

“This was Bryan’s first time in the finals and it was a very impressive performance,” Condon said. “This was a big thing for him.”

Four Shoreham-Wading River wrestlers — Kevin Warner (103), Ryan Stern (130), Dom Pirraglia (160) and Mike Sanders (189) — placed third. Finishing in fourth place for the Wildcats were Zach Sperling (119), Asael Romero (135), Tom Valentine (145) and Joe Longo (171).

David Keith (103) had a fifth-place finish, while Wildcat teammates Steve Corso (125) and Joe Bennett (145) came in sixth.

Condon reiterated how impressive this early showing was by his team, especially in light of heavyweight competition like Sachem North, Walt Whitman, West Babylon, Port Washington, Uniondale and North Babylon.

“If you want to get better, you can’t avoid tough competition,” Condon said. “It is still early, but we utilized what we’ve been working on. We have high expectations. This was good for us to do against tough competition. This is something to build on.”

12/08/10 11:14am

Roger Sullivan, the coach of the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats, said the key for his girls winter track team to make a run at the league title this winter is depth. “We’ve got to be able to score in the third- and fourth-place positions,” he said. “We also have to stay healthy.”

The Wildcats are led by junior Shannon McDonnell (600 meters, long jump, triple jump), sophomore Laura Lee (1,000), and seniors Danielle Opatovsky (1,500), Samantha Maier (shot put), Shannon Gallagher (shot put) and MacKenzie Pendergast (hurdles). Two newcomers, eighth-grader Rose Andrews and junior Audrey Kelly, will run in the 3,000.

While the Wildcats are strong in the middle-distance races, Sullivan said they are still working on who will compete in the high jump.

Although the Riverhead Blue Waves lost the talented Katie Skinner to graduation, Coach Becky Winkel said 67 girls tried out for the team this season.

Riverhead will be led by junior Juliana Marcucci (1,500 and 3,000), seniors Tyesha Harrell (55, 300 and triple jump), Sarah Governale (1,500 and 3,000) and Wynisha Hatcher (300, 600, triple jump). Not to be forgotten, either, are juniors Fatima Brown (300 and 600), Rebecca Kerr-Smith (shot put), and sophomore Christy Brewer (600, long jump and 4×400 relay). A trio of freshmen — Rachel Conti, Carolyn Carrera and Sydney Kito — will all vie for spots in the 300 and 600.

Winkel said Marcucci “is so dedicated, she is constantly trying to take it to another level.”

With 60 athletes still on the team, including a plethora of freshmen and sophomores, Winkel said “depth” is clearly one of her team’s strengths. But with Skinner gone, Winkel said she is looking for “someone to step into the leadership role.”

When Winkel was asked how good her team could be, she said without hesitation: “We could be great. We just have to work hard and persevere in this cold weather and stay together. It all depends on how much they want it.”

The Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs have 26 athletes on the roster, and that turnout exceeded the expectations of the team’s first-year coach, Gregg Cantwell.

The Monarchs will be led this season by seniors Kayleigh Macchirole (sprints and shot put) and Olivia Schumann (300 and high jump), juniors Emily Venesira (1,500 and 3,000), Tori Tremble (300 and relays), and Lauren Valle (1,500 and 3,000), along with sophomore Cassidy Lessard (sprints) and eighth-grader Delaney Macchirole (sprints and long jump).

Cantwell said Schumann’s biggest asset is her stride. “Olivia has very good form,” Cantwell said. “She has a long, natural stride.”

Cantwell praised Kayleigh Macchirole’s work ethic. “Kayleigh is a hard worker,” he said. “She will work on anything that can help the team.”

So far, Cantwell has focused on the running events. Now he and the team will turn their attention to the field events.

“First we get in shape, then we work on the technical events,” Cantwell said. “If everyone comes together and we can get rid of some of the injuries, we could be very good.”

But to get to that point, Cantwell said, “We need to get on the same page and consistently do our work day after day after day.”

12/08/10 10:57am

The Riverhead Blue Waves may have lost talented shot putter Mike Smith to graduation, but Coach Sal Loverde’s team still returns a core of veteran athletes in seniors Treval Hatcher (triple jump, sprints), Rob Mullen (1,600 and 3,200 meters), Jeremy Warner (1,600 and 3,200) and Michael Beierle (1,600 and 3,200), along with junior Kevin Williams (triple jump, 600 and relays).

Hatcher made it to the state meet in the triple jump last winter.

“Treval has made a significant commitment,” Loverde said. “He has strength and speed. He has the coordination and a very competitive edge. Treval has a dedicated work ethic.”

Loverde said the Blue Waves have a young group of talented shot putters and jumpers that he is excited about.

Week by week, Loverde wants his team to keep improving so it peaks at the right time. He wants the Blue Waves to be able to challenge traditionally strong opponents like the Half Hollow Hills West Colts and Bellport Clippers.

“The key,” he said, “is to develop a good core of peer leadership to accent the coaching staff. Strong senior leadership makes a difference. We are encouraging kids to step up to the plate. We have a high level of expectations. The last 10 years we have established the Riverhead track and field program to be very competitive.”

This is the first year the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs have fielded a boys track winter team and Coach Matt Perry is pleased with the number of athletes that tried out for the team.

“We had a good turnout,” Perry said. “We are really excited that 30 kids want to participate.”

Perry said five seniors — John De Suno (sprints and shot put), Sean Cappiello (middle distances and triple jump), Matt Di Landro (triple jump and middle distances), Ryan Walker (middle distances), and Matthew Stetler (long distances) — will lead the way.

De Suno made all-league in the shot put last spring.

“John is a hard worker,” Perry said. “He is knowledgeable and very coachable.”

Perry talked about how he has a lot of options to fill in other holes.

“We have a lot more guys in the sprint and field events,” he said. “We’ve got to get some more guys in the distance races but, overall, this is very encouraging.”

Perry’s goal is for each athlete to continue to improve.

“We are vastly improved from the spring,” he said. “The kids have a better understanding of what they need to do. We are very encouraged.”

Shoreham-Wading River Coach Bob Szymanski could not be reached prior to the deadline.

12/08/10 10:39am

ROBERT O'ROURK FILE PHOTO | Anthony Infantolino, right, will wrestle at 112 pounds for Riverhead.

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.”

11/30/10 11:34pm

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Matt Stetler, below, is one of three seniors who will not get to wrestle for Bishop McGann-Mercy this season.

The Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School wrestling program has been dumped.

The school’s athletic director, Paula Nickerson, recently informed the Monarchs’ longtime coach, Jeff Gatz, that the program has been dropped after only five wrestlers showed an interest in the program.

“This was not a monetary issue,” Nickerson said. “Section XI has a minimum number of wrestlers [six] you have to have on the team and we did not have enough interest.”

McGann-Mercy did not win a match last season, going 0-9 overall and in Suffolk County League VII.

Gatz, who has coached the Monarchs for the past 13 seasons, said he was “disappointed” with the decision.

McGann-Mercy has historically had a difficult time putting enough wrestlers on the mat to have a competitive team.

“We’ve always had between six and 12 wrestlers,” Gatz said. “I felt we could have fielded enough weight classes, but I have no say in this.”

Gatz said he is especially disappointed for his three seniors — Matt Stetler (125 pounds), Ryan Heimroth (152) and Matt Delandro (161).

“These are three kids that were supposed to place this year,” Gatz said. “The parents are upset.”

Nickerson said she took a survey and there was more interest in the newly added boys winter track program than in wrestling. She said, “We didn’t expect this.”

Gatz said it would be difficult to bring the wrestling program back in the future.

“It will be hard to get this reinstated,” he said. “With no program, it is hard to attract kids. If we do get reinstated, we start back at the junior varsity level for a year, then move up to varsity. Right now, we’re a little upset.”

11/30/10 11:11pm

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Gabe Rice, right, was a league champion last season.

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.”

11/30/10 10:44pm

This is the season they have all been waiting for.

The Riverhead Blue Waves boys bowling team finished third in Suffolk County League III last year with 240.5 points, trailing only the Sachem East Flaming Arrows (290.5) and Longwood Lions (243.5). This season the Blue Waves return the exact same team, and Coach Scott Hackal believes his veteran bowlers are ready to make some noise.

Riverhead will be led by four seniors in Elliot Jones, Adam Vail, Travis Walker, John Horton and Anthony Trent.

Jones had a 227 average, which was second-highest in the county. He rolled a high game of 288 and made the all-state team.

“Elliot is a very accurate bowler,” Hackal said. “He throws a lot of strikes. He doesn’t miss by much, so his spares are all good. He throws a good first ball.”

Walker had a 198 average, followed by Vail at 195, Trent at 191 and Horton at 182.

Hackal said the team’s experience will pay dividends this season.

“Many of these kids have been on the team since the seventh grade, and with another year of experience, we could finish in the top three in our league,” he said. “We could even finish higher if things go our way.”

Hackal said Sachem East, Longwood, the Connetquot Thunderbirds and Patchogue-Medford Raiders will all be tough to beat, but he believes his team is up for the challenge.

“It is all up to them how much they want to put into it,” he said. “We’ve got to perform.”

It is always tough to win on the road, but Hackal said: “We are getting better at adjusting to the different lanes. Many of our guys have been bowling in different leagues throughout the year, which is helping to improve their game.”

Hackal knows this could be a special season for his team.

“A number of things could happen,” he said. “This could be really good. It should be interesting.”

11/03/10 8:04pm


GEORGE FAELLA PHOTO Bishop McGann-Mercy punter Keith Schroeher was pressured by Port Jefferson's Hugh Roden.


There were four minutes left in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s Suffolk County Division IV football game between the Port Jefferson Royals and the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs and the Royals were clinging to a 20-12 lead. The Monarchs, who were able to move the ball on the ground all game long, were, once again, on the march.

McGann-Mercy had the ball on the Port Jefferson 22-yard line with plenty of time left on the clock. In fact, McGann-Mercy Coach Joe Read said he wondered if his team was going to score and leave too much time on the clock for Port Jefferson to strike back.

But Read and the Monarchs never got the opportunity to find out. Quarterback Keith Schroeher and running back Rob Terry bumped into each other on an attempted handoff. The ball squirted loose, the Royals recovered and held on for a 20-12 win.

“It was a great game,” Read said. “We fought right down to the end. This was the kind of team we knew we could be all year.”

With the Monarchs (2-6) finally reasonably healthy, it showed as they drove the ball downfield behind the running of Pat Stepnoski (175 yards on 22 carries) and Terry (130 yards on 15 carries). Midway through the first quarter, Stepnoski ripped off a 28-yard run, setting up Terry’s eight-yard drive up the middle for a touchdown.

The McGann-Mercy defense then stopped a long Port Jefferson drive at the Monarchs’ 10. Again, the Monarchs, behind a 40-yard run by Stepnoski, threatened to score. But a holding penalty deep in Port Jefferson territory stalled the drive.

“We shocked Port Jefferson,” Read said. “Pat ran like his old self. Rob was phenomenal with his blocking and running. They didn’t expect us to run right at them.”

Still, the Monarchs led by only six points.

Early in the second quarter, one play after Schroeher almost intercepted a pass on defense, Port Jefferson quarterback Dan Serignese (4 of 6 for 84 yards) threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Brady Colucci to tie the score.

At halftime, Read reminded his team: “We did everything we needed to do. Let’s keep doing this.”

But the Royals (4-4) opened the third quarter with a long drive, mostly on the ground, and took a 13-6 lead on Dylan Ernst’s 58-yard touchdown gallop. Ernst gained 145 yards on 13 carries. It became 20-6 when Serignese hit Colucci again with another four-yard scoring pass.

McGann-Mercy mounted a comeback early in the fourth quarter when Schroeher scrambled 30 yards to the Port Jefferson 1. Terry then scored to trim the Royals’ lead to 20-12.

The Monarchs had a golden opportunity to tie the score late in the game. But Port Jefferson recovered the botched handoff. McGann-Mercy got the ball back one last time, at midfield with 10 seconds left. But time simply ran out on the Monarchs’ hopes for a miracle finish.

Nonetheless, Read was proud of the way his team battled every inch of the way.

“I am so glad we played like this at the end of the season,” he said. “In football, the kids put in so much preparation, so much work. The hard work was working. There are some things that are out of our control. Bad luck is bad luck. Our kids are keeping their heads high. These kids will work to be better.”