Articles by

Joe Werkmeister

03/10/15 12:00pm
Shoreham-Wading River coach Kevin Willi hits fly balls Monday on the team's first day of official practices. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Shoreham-Wading River coach Kevin Willi hits fly balls Monday on the team’s first day of official practices. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

When he was a first-year teacher in the Shoreham-Wading River School District more than a decade ago, Kevin Willi was approached by longtime baseball coach Sal Mignano. The Wildcats had an opening for a middle school coach. Mignano, knowing Willi had played baseball at Stony Brook University, asked him if he was interested.

Willi jumped at the opportunity, the first step toward accomplishing his dream of becoming a varsity head coach. Over the next 13 years, Willi coached at different levels throughout the program, most recently coaching alongside Mignano as a varsity assistant.  (more…)

03/03/15 4:30pm
In 2000, Jesse Jantzen won a fourth state title for Shoreham-Wading River. He was the only Long Island wrestler with four crowns until this past weekend. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

In 2000, Jesse Jantzen won a fourth state title for Shoreham-Wading River. He was the only Long Island wrestler with four crowns until this past weekend. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The words used to describe Jesse Jantzen often evoke a mythical connotation. The “great” Jesse Jantzen. The “legendary” Jesse Jantzen.

And for good reason. At Shoreham-Wading River High School, Jantzen won four state titles for the Wildcats, never losing a match during his four years in high school. Jantzen set the standard for wrestling in Suffolk County following his graduation in 2000.  (more…)

02/28/15 9:34am
Jack Taddeo of Shoreham-Wading River (right) wrestles in the 145-pound first round Friday against Joseph Clemente of LaSalle. (Credit: Paul Wager)

Jack Taddeo of Shoreham-Wading River (right) wrestles in the 145-pound first round Friday against Joseph Clemente of LaSalle. (Credit: Paul Wager)

Update, (3 p.m.): James Szymanski and Jack Taddeo of Shoreham-Wading River both closed out their careers with the Wildcats as all-state wrestlers. Szymanski finished fourth at 132 pounds and Taddeo was fifth at 145.

Szymanski lost in the consolation finals 8-0 against Da`mani Burns of Newburgh.

Taddeo closed out the tournament with a win. He defeated Danny Murphy of Roy C Ketcham in the fifth/sixth consolation final, 7-4.

Both wrestlers will continue training for the upcoming nationals.

Update (2:15 p.m.): Riverhead senior Ed Matyka’s season came to an end with a 3-2 loss in the consolation finals against Gerard Daly of Minisink Valley. Matyka finished the tournament in fourth place at 120 pounds.

Matyka trailed 3-0 in the second period before scoring on an escape. Late in the third period, he escaped again to close within 3-2. He nearly scored a takedown a few seconds later, but they went out of bounds before he could secure the move.

Matyka closes out his career with 99 victories. He went 4-2 in the state tournament.

Update (1:30 p.m.): Shoreham-Wading River senior James Szymanski grinded out a hard-earned overtime victory in the consolation semifinals at 132 pounds. Szymanski and Evan Barczak of Monroe-Woodbury were tied at one up until the final ultimate tie-breaker period.

Szymanski was on top and needed to ride out the period in order to win. He did just that and was awarded a 2-1 win in a rematch of the first round.

Neither wrestle could gain any advantage on each other. They each scored on an escape before overtime for the only points. But those escapes were hard to come by in overtime. Neither wrestler would let the other free, leading to the final sudden-death period.

Szymanski will wrestle for third place now.

His teammate, Jack Taddeo, lost his 145-pound consolation final, 3-0 against Jake Einbinder of Bethpage, the No. 2 seed in the tournament.

Taddeo will wrestle for fifth place now.

Update (1 p.m.): Ed Matyka of Riverhead rallied back from a three-point hole to defeat Vincent Vespa of Monroe-Woodbury in the 120-pound consolation semifinals, 6-4. Matyka will wrestle in the consolation finals for third place now and also for his 100th career win.

Matyka scored a reversal with about 1:15 left in the third period to tie the match at 4 and then scored two more late in the period to win.

Matyka dominated the third period to earn his 99th career win and fourth straight at the state tournament after falling in the first round.

Update (11:35 a.m.): Shoreham-Wading River senior Jack Taddeo joined his teammate on the podium. Taddeo won a 5-3 decision in his first wrestleback Saturday against Mike Laloggia of Webster Schroeder to secure himself an all-state finish.

Taddeo, wrestling at 145, controlled the match throughout. He scored a quick takedown for a 2-0 lead in the first period. Laloggia evened the score with an escape in the first and another point in the second. Taddeo started on bottom for the third period and escaped immediately for a 3-2 lead. He added two more points to go ahead 5-2 and then held on as Laloggia got one more escape point in the final seconds.

Taddeo will wrestle twice more today.

Update (11:00 a.m.): Shoreham-Wading River senior James Szymanski earned his first all-state honors with a victory Saturday morning. Szymanski, wrestling 132 pounds, defeated Matt Seitz of Monsignor Farrell 5-2 in a wrestleback match. (more…)

02/27/15 8:33pm
Riverhead senior Ed Matyka wrestles Peter Pappas of Plainview in the first round Friday of the state championship. (Credit: Paul Wager)

Riverhead senior Ed Matyka wrestles Peter Pappas of Plainview in the first round Friday of the state championship. (Credit: Paul Wager)

There will be no state champion for Shoreham-Wading River this season. But the Wildcats still have a chance for a memorable finish.

All three Shoreham wrestlers advanced to the second day of the New York State Wrestling Championships Friday at Times Union Center in Albany. Riverhead senior Ed Matyka won a pair of matches as well to advance. (more…)

02/26/15 2:00pm
The view inside Times Union Center for the 2013 state tournament. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister, file)

The view inside Times Union Center for the 2013 state tournament. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister, file)

Right around the time I spotted a condom on the bathroom floor of my shady motel room, I began to seriously question the wisdom behind driving to Albany in a snowstorm.

This couldn’t possibly be worth it, I thought.

It was February 2010. For the fourth straight year, I was bound for the New York State Wrestling Championships, a dizzying two-day marathon of hundreds of matches contested across eight mats on the Times Union Center floor.  (more…)

02/19/15 5:00pm
Shoreham-Wading River senior James Szymanski (yellow singlet) will wrestle for the first time in the state tournament after receiving an at-large bid this week. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Shoreham-Wading River senior James Szymanski (yellow singlet) will wrestle for the first time in the state tournament after receiving an at-large bid this week. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

James Szymanski spent the nearly two weeks in between the Section XI Championships and the state tournament last year training with all the wrestlers competing for Suffolk County. (more…)

02/17/15 10:35pm
Shoreham-Wading River senior Danny Hughes goes up for a shot Tuesday against Sayville. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Shoreham-Wading River senior Danny Hughes goes up for a shot Tuesday against Sayville. (Credit: Garret Meade)

CLASS A FIRST ROUND  |  GOLDEN FLASHES 53, WILDCATS 51

In the two weeks his team was off since the regular season ended, Shoreham-Wading River coach Kevin Culhane did his best to keep the players loose before Tuesday night’s Class A playoff opener. On Saturday, the Wildcats played crisp in a scrimmage against Bellport, a playoff-bound Class AA team.

All signs indicated the Wildcats were ready.  (more…)

02/17/15 5:00pm
Rocket, a 4 1/2-year-old German shepherd from Riverhead, was a top finisher at Monday's Westminster Dog Show. (Credit: Sue Condreras)

Rocket, a 4 1/2-year-old German shepherd from Riverhead, was a top finisher at Monday’s Westminster Dog Show. (Credit: Sue Condreras)

The 20 German shepherds lined up together after strutting their stuff before the judge at Monday’s Westminster dog show. In the stands, surrounded by friends, Sue Condreras of Northville looked on with the nervous anxiety of a mother watching her child.

The judge began to call on dogs one by one that were being considered for an award.  (more…)