02/28/15 9:34am
02/28/2015 9:34 AM
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…)

02/19/15 5:00pm
02/19/2015 5:00 PM
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…)

02/07/15 10:12pm
02/07/2015 10:12 PM
Shoreham-Wading River wrestlers and coaches posed for photos after the Wildcats saw all five of their league finalists claim championships. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

Shoreham-Wading River wrestlers and coaches pose for photos after the Wildcats saw all five of their league finalists claim championships. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

LEAGUE VI TOURNAMENT

When the name of the most outstanding wrestler of the 2015 Suffolk County League VI Tournament was announced, Jack Taddeo was not to be seen. As it turned out, the Shoreham-Wading River High School junior was in a hallway outside the East Hampton High School gym at the time, posing for photos with teammates.

Taddeo’s selection, by a vote of the coaches, was the proverbial icing on the cake for the Wildcats. Shoreham sent five wrestlers into the league finals — no easy trick in itself — and all five emerged as champions.

That’s 5 for 5. Not bad at all. (more…)

01/02/15 2:09pm
01/02/2015 2:09 PM

Shoreham-Wading River coach Joe Condon viewed the two-day John Davidson Duals earlier this week as a measuring stick for his team. The Wildcats wrestled eight teams, all large schools, and faced some stiff competition before the upcoming sprint to the league tournament.

“It’s a good test,” Condon said. “It’s sort of a midseason test to see where we are, to see what we need to improve on and see what some of our strengths are.”  (more…)

12/11/14 2:00pm
12/11/2014 2:00 PM
Shoreham-Wading River junior Jack Taddeo bumps up to wrestle 145 this year, where enters seeded second in the preseason rankings. (Credit: Bill Landon, file)

Shoreham-Wading River junior Jack Taddeo bumps up to wrestle 145 this year, where enters seeded second in the preseason rankings. (Credit: Bill Landon, file)

Had James Szymanski competed in nearly any other county last year, his season would have ended in Albany, competing at the state championships at Times Union Center. He likely would have stood on the podium, an all-state wrestler.

But even for a superb wrestler like Szymanski, a Shoreham-Wading River High School senior who recently signed with the University of North Carolina, navigating through the Section XI Tournament can prove hazardous. Szymanski’s third-place finish in the county tournament last year left him at the mercy of an at-large bid to the state tournament. And even with a 47-3 record, that bid never came.  (more…)

02/16/14 6:04pm
02/16/2014 6:04 PM

Shoreham-Wading River senior Dominic Pirraglia placed third in the county tournament at 182 pounds. (Joe Werkmeister photo)

SECTION XI CHAMPIONSHIPS

The final seconds ticked away in the third period and Shoreham-Wading River senior Mike Neidhart assumed his season and wrestling career were over. He was trailing 1-0 in his consolation final at 170 pounds, desperately trying to make a move on his opponent. (more…)

02/15/14 12:00pm
02/15/2014 12:00 PM
Shoreham junior James Szymanski won his first league title at 120 points. (Bill Landon photo)

Shoreham junior James Szymanski won both his matches Friday on the first day of the county tournament. (Bill Landon file photo)

Three Shoreham-Wading River wrestlers and one Riverhead wrestler advanced Friday into the semifinals of the Section XI Tournament.

All four will be vying for their first county title Sunday when the tournament resumes at Hofstra University. (more…)

02/02/13 9:23pm
02/02/2013 9:23 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River's T. J. Fabian has Westhampton Beach's Nick Strand in an awkward position before pinning him 26 seconds into the 126-pound final. Fabian became the fifth Shoreham-Wading River wrestler to win four league titles, according to Wildcats coach Joe Condon.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River’s T. J. Fabian has Westhampton Beach’s Nick Strand in an awkward position before pinning him 26 seconds into the 126-pound final. Fabian became the fifth Shoreham-Wading River wrestler to win four league titles, according to Wildcats coach Joe Condon.

LEAGUE VI CHAMPIONSHIPS

For many, it’s the culmination of months, if not years, of hard work. All the extra workouts, all the year-round training, all the commitment, all the dedication leads to a league tournament. And a league tournament is not exactly a walk in the park, either. It’s full of potential pratfalls along the way. It is the uncommon wrestler who survives navigating that minefield to emerge as a champion.

To do it once is special. To do it four times, well, that’s four times as special.

T. J. Fabian is among the few who know what that feels like.

Fabian won a fourth league title in the Suffolk County League VI Championships on Saturday night, becoming the fifth wrestler in the history of Shoreham-Wading River’s program to do so, according to Wildcats coach Joe Condon.

“I’m so happy,” said Fabian, Shoreham-Wading River’s only senior.

Fabian blew through the opposition. After winning his first two bouts in the tournament at Westhampton Beach High School on pins that totaled 2 minutes 2 seconds, Fabian didn’t waste any time in the 126-pound final, pinning Westhampton Beach senior Nick Strand in 26 seconds.

“I was hoping for a first-period pin to get this over with,” said Fabian, whose fastest pin this year came in 10 seconds.

The victory brought Fabian’s record to 42-0 for the season and 187-23 for his career. Strand is 31-11 this season.

Condon knows how rare an achievement it is for a wrestler to win four league titles.

“You have to stay injury-free,” he said. “You have to have a little luck with that, and you have to constantly be improving because everybody else is always trying to improve as well. He truly loves the sport. He loves to wrestle. He’s not afraid to work hard every single day. He deserves this.”

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Dom Pirraglia of Shoreham-Wading River exulted after his 8-7 triumph over Rocky Point's Zeki Yazak in the 182-pound final.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Dom Pirraglia of Shoreham-Wading River exulted after his 8-7 triumph over Rocky Point’s Zeki Yazak in the 182-pound final.

Fabian, who hasn’t selected the college he will wrestle for next season, is the top-ranked wrestler for his weight class in the state. “A lot of schools have been calling,” Condon said. “He hasn’t decided yet. It’s a big decision.”

Fabian was among four Wildcats who advanced to the league finals. Two others, freshman Jack Taddeo and junior Dom Pirraglia, picked up their first league titles.

With fans chanting his name, Taddeo (34-6) was in control of his final at 120 pounds, registering a 7-0 decision over Mount Sinai freshman Lionel Paul (19-1). Afterward, Taddeo received hugs and congratulations from coaches and teammates.

“This was my goal this year, and I achieved it,” Taddeo said. “I feel like I executed all my moves and everything I wanted to do.”

Pirraglia (31-4), who was a league runner-up last year, took the 182-pound title by virtue of an 8-7 victory over Rocky Point senior Zeki Yazak (30-5). It was the first tournament title of any kind that Pirraglia has ever won.

“I walked into the [wrestling] room this year not wanting anything less than the league championship,” Pirraglia said. “I walked out there on the mat just wanting to win.  I was expecting nothing less than first place.”

Condon said that immediately after the match, Pirraglia was so exhausted that “he couldn’t even talk because he put everything he had into it. That’s exactly what we want.”

The first Shoreham-Wading River wrestler to compete in Saturday night’s finals, sophomore James Szymanski, was leading his opponent at 106 pounds, Westhampton Beach senior Alex Tanzman, for most of the contest. But Tanzman executed a pivotal reversal and pinned Szymanski at 5:29. Tanzman (28-1) was selected the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

Szymanski (28-4) had also lost in last year’s league final to Tanzman, who holds a 6-0 career record against the Shoreham-Wading River wrestler.

“It’s tough,” said Szymanski, who lost on Long Island for only the second time this season. “I was hoping to get the championship here today.”

Rocky Point blew out the competition in the team scoring, collecting 463 1/2 points. Westhampton Beach was far behind in second place with 282. Shoreham-Wading River finished fourth with 182 1/2.

Shoreham-Wading River’s four league finalists will join teammate Max Goldfarb, who finished third at 195 pounds, in the Section XI Championships next week.

“These kids really trained hard,” Condon said. “I don’t know of a group of kids anywhere that works harder than the kids on our team. They don’t leave anything on the mat.”

So, what does it take to be a league champion?

Now that he has achieved it, Taddeo could provide an answer to that question.

“Hard work and dedication,” he said. “You have to wrestle all year long if you want to be successful in this sport. It’s just that competitive.”

bliepa@timesreview.com