03/22/15 8:00am
03/22/2015 8:00 AM
Don Jantzen hugs his son Corey after the finals of the 2007 state championship in Albany. Don retired as Shoreham-Wading River's head coach after that season, which ended with Corey winning a second state title. (Credit: Peter Blasl, file)

Don Jantzen hugs his son Corey after the finals of the 2007 state championship in Albany. Don retired as Shoreham-Wading River’s head coach after that season, which ended with Corey winning a second state title. (Credit: Peter Blasl, file)

Don Jantzen, a longtime coach who helped build the Shoreham-Wading River wrestling program into prominence and whose sons combined for six state titles as Wildcats, died suddenly March 4. He was 60.

A family man who married his high school sweetheart, Jantzen was remembered as a hard worker who helped mentor generations of students.  (more…)

01/23/15 8:00am
01/23/2015 8:00 AM
James Suarez with his parents Joe and Kalli on Senior Day at Shoreham-Wading River High School. (Credit: Garret Meade)

James Suarez with his parents Joe and Kalli on Senior Day at Shoreham-Wading River High School. (Credit: Garret Meade)

James Suarez, a Shoreham-Wading River High School student who has wrestled since he was a seventh grader, was looking forward to his senior season. This past summer he trained in earnest for his big opportunity. Suarez had a good chance of winning a place in Shoreham’s lineup, perhaps at 152 or 160 pounds. He wanted to be ready.

Then life intervened.

Suarez, 17, had to step back from his wrestling family so he could come to the rescue of his actual family. (more…)

01/16/15 8:38pm
01/16/2015 8:38 PM
Jack Del Duca was a winner for Shoreham-Wading River at 113 pounds, defeating Westhampton Beach's Casey Hughes, 7-2. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Jack Del Duca was a winner for Shoreham-Wading River at 113 pounds, defeating Westhampton Beach’s Casey Hughes, 7-2. (Credit: Garret Meade)


Sometimes it’s not how many wrestling matches you win, but how you win them that counts.

Such was the case Friday. Shoreham-Wading River won most of the individual bouts, but Westhampton Beach took the bulk of the bonus points — and the contest. (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)


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…)

12/18/13 6:00pm
12/18/2013 6:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Jack Taddeo enters the season ranked sixth in the county at 126 pounds.

For good reason, most of the headlines for the Shoreham-Wading River wrestling program last year centered around T.J. Fabian. As one of the top wrestlers to ever come through the program, Fabian closed out a remarkable senior season by winning a state championship in dominant fashion.

He became the fourth Shoreham wrestler to win a state title.

While losing a wrestler of Fabian’s caliber hurts, the Wildcats return nearly their entire roster this season aside from him, giving the team reason to believe big things are still ahead.

“The top returners have put a lot of work in the offseason,” said Shoreham coach Joe Condon. “They’ve wrestled a lot of highly competitive tournaments, they’ve weight-trained, they’ve run, they’ve done everything they can.”

The Wildcats hope to be in the running for the top team in the league if everything falls into place this year. To get there, they’ll rely on their top returning wrestlers to lead the charge. Shoreham opens the season with three wrestlers ranked in the top six in Suffolk County in their weight classes.

“We have a lot of guys with experience,” Condon said.

The Wildcats have two wrestlers ranked second in the county, led by junior James Szymanski and senior Dom Pirraglia. Both wrestled in the county tournament last year. Pirraglia was a league champion who will wrestle at 182 this year. He finished fourth in the county last year.

Szymanski was a league runner-up last year who placed fifth in the county. He’ll wrestle 120 this year, which will be one of the more competitive weights in the county.

Leading the pack at 120 is Ward Melville sensation Nick Piccininni, who is already a two-time state champion. At the state championship last year, Piccininni was honored as the Most Outstanding Wrestler.

The goal for Szymanski coming into the season is to try to get to the county finals, where he knows in all likelihood, Piccininni will be waiting.

Shoreham also returns a talented wrestler in sophomore Jack Taddeo, who was a league champion last year. Taddeo will move up to wrestle 132 this year.

One challenge coming into the year lineup-wise will be getting Szymanski and Chris Meloni into separate weights. Condon said they hoped to have Meloni certified for 113, but he ended up at 120.

Condon said several kids in the county, Meloni included, were scheduled to appeal, but never got the chance after the appeals were canceled because of weather last week. They were never rescheduled, he said.

“He’s going to be bumped up a little,” Condon said. “We’ll juggle our lineup and do the best we can. We have some quality starters at almost every weight. We have very few holes in the lineup.”

Shoreham returns a two-time all-league wrestler in Max Goldfarb, who placed third in the league tournament the past two years at 195. He’ll return at the same weight this season.

Other returnees include Ray Lopez at 145, David Keith at 152, Troy Miller at 160 and Mike Neidhart at 170.

“We have a lot of individual goals, they vary with each kid,” Condon said. “Many kids want to place in the league tournament, county tournament, state tournament. I tell the kids, set the bar high. Rise to the challenge.”

The Wildcats opened the season Saturday with a tournament at Walt Whitman. Shoreham sent five wrestlers into the finals and Szymanski emerged the lone winner at 126. He pinned Brian Barry of Sachem North in the finals in 19 seconds.

Meloni, Miller, Pirraglia and Goldfarb all fell in the finals. Szymanski finished with the most pins in the least time, four in 4:56.

The dual-meet season was scheduled to begin Wednesday with a non-league match at Bellport. The league season begins Thursday at Mount Sinai.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead’s Brandon Elroumy, top, returns as one of the Blue Waves’ top wrestlers this year.

The Riverhead wrestling team faced its share of adversity last season. A young team without much experience, the Blue Waves faced a rough road in the competitive League IV. At the league tournament, the Blue Waves finished in last place and did not have a wrestler reach the finals.

A year later, things are already looking up for the Blue Waves.

Riverhead opened the season Saturday with a tournament at East Hampton that featured some tough competition in the form of Hauppauge, Ward Melville and Westhampton. The Blue Waves sent four wrestlers into the finals, all in the lower weight classes and two were champions. The Blue Waves finished fourth as a team.

Ed Matyka (113) and Cody Weiss (120) both won their weight classes. Kerry Thomas (106) and Brandon Elroumy (120) finished second.

In total, the Blue Waves had 10 wrestlers finish in the top four. Chris Flood was third at 106 and Christian Williams was third at 285.

Matyka was an all-league wrestler two years ago at 99 as an eighth-grader. Entering the season, he’s the top-ranked Blue Waves wrestler. He’s currently ranked sixth in the county at 106.

Weiss is also a former all-league finisher. He was second at the league tournament two years ago at 106.

Riverhead will wrestle at an invitational at North Babylon Dec. 21. The league dual-meet season begins Jan. 3 against one of the top teams in the county in Hauppauge.

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02/13/13 12:00pm
02/13/2013 12:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | A League VI champion at 126 pounds after pinning Westhampton Beach’s Nick Strand, Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian lost Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the county tournament for his first defeat of the season.

Inevitably, every season, at least one weight class in the Section XI wrestling championship is so brutally competitive that to emerge on top is practically akin to placing at the state tournament.

Consider that weight this year the 126-pound class.

When Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian began his quarterfinal match Tuesday night at Hofstra University, he found himself pitted against a defending county champion in Corey Jamison of Huntington.

No, there was no easy route to the finals.

Undefeated and the top-ranked wrestler in the weight, Fabian suffered a disappointing 4-3 loss to Jamison, ending his bid to win his first county championship.

“Setbacks don’t define what he does,” said Shoreham coach Joe Condon.

The loss dropped Fabian (45-1) into the wrestlebacks, where he bounced back to win two matches Tuesday, guaranteeing himself an all-county finish. He’ll return to the mat Wednesday afternoon at Walt Whitman High School needing to win two matches to take third place.

If he does, the odds are in his favor to earn a wild card spot to the state championship for the second straight year. He was fourth in New York last year as a wild card.

“T.J. knew what he had to do,” Condon said. “He prepared well. He’s determined to come back and wrestle his best.”

Condon said the good news is that Fabian still controls his own destiny.

“His attitude is good,” Condon said. “He wants to do the best he can. He doesn’t give up.”

In a testament to how tough the weight class is, Jamison lost in the semifinals after beating Fabian. He lost 3-1 to Jimmy Leach of Eastport-South Manor. In the other semifinal, former state champion Mark West of Hauppauge won 10-0 against Brad Wade of Islip.

Fabian could end up wrestling Jamison again in the consolation final.

Two other Wildcat wrestlers guarantee themselves spots on the podium. Sophomore James Szymanski reached the semifinals at 106 before falling 8-4 to Steven Lee of West Babylon. Lee was second in the county last year and also beat Szymanski en route to the finals.

Szymanski recorded his 100th win Tuesday. He opened the tournament win a win over Brendan Elroumy of Riverhead.

Szymanski will need to win one match to wrestle for third place Wednesday.

“He’s had a great tournament so far,” Condon said.

At 182, Dom Pirraglia lost in the semifinals to Dan Fiorvanti of Commack by fall in 4 minutes 9 seconds.

Condon said he thought Pirraglia had a great chance of reaching the podium, even if he wasn’t on a lot of people’s radars.

“A lot of wrestling people don’t know who he is,” Condon said. “He peaked at the right time. He’s a very strong wrestler, very dedicated.”

Jack Taddeo lost his opening match at 120. At 195, Max Goldfarb fought through a sprained ankle to wrestle in the tournament. He lost his opening match in overtime.

“The experience is going to help those two guys,” Condon said.

The snowstorm that blanketed Long Island Friday into Saturday forced the tournament to be pushed back. The first three rounds were all contested on the same day. Normally, the semifinals start in the morning of the second day.

“They did the best they could,” Condon said.

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