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’s not how a wrestling match starts that counts, but how it ends.
The members of the Shoreham-Wading River High School wrestling team did well to keep that in mind, but it wasn’t easy. It had to be dismaying for them to watch one of their own go down, one by one. It went that way through the first four bouts of Thursday’s Suffolk County League VI card as visiting Westhampton Beach built an early 16-0 lead.
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
Tom Riccio’s connection to wrestling is long and multifaceted. Riccio, who will celebrate his 75th birthday in January, has a 62-year involvement in the sport as a wrestler, official or coach. This coming April he will have another wrestling identity: National Wrestling Hall of Fame member. READ
Don Jantzen, who coached wrestling at Shoreham-Wading River High School from 1993 to 2007, will be posthumously inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in April. READ
The Suffolk County Wrestling Coaches Association honored three Riverhead wrestlers for their excellence both in the classroom and on the mat. READ
They are the modern high school version of gladiators.
Wrestlers are tough. They have to be, competing in the toughest of high school sports.
It is where some dreams are made and others are crushed.