Wrestling is a passion for Jake Benedetto. It has been ever since he took up the sport as a youngster. It was a focal point for him as high school wrestler for East Islip and Islip, and then at the collegiate level with SUNY/Oneonta.
Benedetto carried that passion over to coaching. He was an assistant coach for Unatego in upstate New York for one season, coached two seasons at Bayport-Blue Point (one year as the head coach) and then coached the Longwood and Riverhead junior varsity teams.
And now Benedetto finds himself as the successor to Tom Riccio, a National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee who became Riverhead’s varsity coach in 2015.
“This has been a long journey for me,” said Benedetto, 28. READ
Connor Pearce was a fitting representative of a young Shoreham-Wading River High School wrestling team that consists mostly of freshmen and sophomores, with only three seniors. Yes, Pearce is young, but he has come such a long way. READ
Shawn Petretti straddled two worlds while sitting in the bleachers Thursday night. The Mattituck High School principal had more than a casual interest in the high school wrestling match between Shoreham-Wading River and Mattituck/Greenport/Southold. That’s because his sons, John Carl and Tristan, both wrestle for Shoreham.
It was an intriguing case of a principal watching his own flesh and blood wrestle against the team he himself once coached in the Mattituck building where he works. Talk about conflicted interests. READ
Last season the Shoreham-Wading River High School wrestling team’s lineup was loaded with seniors and juniors. Seven starters from that team have moved on, leaving the Wildcats younger. READ
Throughout the day last Thursday, Ryan Condon had been looking forward to the moment when he would walk onto the mat in the Shoreham-Wading River High School gym and wrestle Westhampton Beach’s Austin Mahon. The two had been slated to face each other in the 182-pound bout.
Condon put himself into the right frame of mind as he prepared to battle.
It had been six years between county champions for Riverhead when Ed Matyka pulled off an improbable comeback in the Section XI Championships in February 2015. Matyka, then a senior, went on to place fourth in the state and earned all-American honors. READ
Standing with the confidence befitting someone of his impressive standing, Tanner Zagarino looked determined and ready to do something no other Mattituck/Greenport/Southold high school wrestler has done before.
As Zagarino stepped onto the mat Saturday afternoon at Times Union Center in Albany for his Division II semifinal at 195 pounds, he represented Mattituck’s last chance to send a wrestler into the finals of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships for the first time. Hopes were high.
Jack Taddeo’s legacy in the Shoreham-Wading River High School wrestling team’s history is secure. The senior still has more wrestling ahead of him for the Wildcats, but when the book on his high school career is written, these words will be highlighted: four-time league champion. READ