03/12/13 10:00pm
03/12/2013 10:00 PM

HARVARD ATHLETICS PHOTO | Steven Keith celebrates a win after a match for Harvard last season.

A two-time state champion at Shoreham-Wading River, Steven Keith (’09) earned his fourth straight trip to the Division I NCAA Wrestling Championships for Harvard University. Keith finished fourth Friday at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships while wrestling at 141 pounds to clinch a spot in the NCAAs.

The NCAA Championships are March 21-23 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Keith opened the EIWA Championship as the second seed in his bracket. He won a 6-0 decision over Columbia’s Alec Mooradian and a 9-3 decision over No. 7 Anthony Salupo of Lehigh to advance to the semifinals. He lost 6-3 in the semis to the No. 3 seed, CJ Cobb of Penn.

Keith wrestled twice more in the wrestlebacks, beating fourth-seeded Trevor Melde of Rutgers, 6-0, before falling in the consolation finals to top-seeded Michael Nevinger of Cornell, 3-0, to settle for fourth.

Keith was one of three wrestlers for Harvard to qualify for the NCAAs. Harvard finished seventh as a team in the EIWA Championships.

Keith has the most wins this season of any Harvard wrestler with a 28-8 record. He recently surpassed 100 career wins and is now 105-51 in his four-year collegiate career.

Last season Keith earned All-America honors with an eighth-place finish at the NCAAs. Keith has recorded more than 20 wins in each of his four seasons at Harvard. Keith is currently ranked 10th in the nation at his weight by InterMat Wrestle.

The 105 career wins puts Keith seventh all-time on the Harvard career win list. He’s two behind sixth place. Former Shoreham wrestler Jesse Jantzen, a 2004 Harvard grad, is tied for the school record for career wins with 132.

joew@timesreview.com

02/23/13 8:00pm
02/23/2013 8:00 PM

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | T.J. Fabian of Shoreham-Wading River has his hand raised as a state champion Saturday night at Times Union Center in Albany.

Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian dominated through four rounds of the Division I New York State Wrestling Championships, clinching the 126-pound state title with an emphatic pin of Keanu Thompson in the finals Saturday night at Times Union Center in Albany.

Fabian, closing in on a technical fall, pinned Thompson with nine seconds left in the match.

Fabian became the fourth state champion in school history, joining a prestigious list headlined by four-time champion Jesse Jantzen.

“It’s the best feeling in my life,” Fabian said.

After a disappointing third-place finish in the county tournament, Fabian responded with a near flawless tournament at the state championships. He gave up only one point in his four victories.

“Getting the first seed in states helped me so much,” he said. “I got a great spot in my bracket. I was just excited for every match.”

Fabian came out firing in each match, scoring quick takedowns and constantly beging the aggressor on the mat.

A four-time league champion, his hard work paid off with the ultimate prize. And he’ll leave Shoreham with the all-time record for career pins (132), according to coach Joe Condon.

In the semifinals Saturday morning Fabian pinned Fredrick Dunau of St. Anthony’s in 3 minutes 32 seconds.

Fabian won his first two matches Friday by a combined score of 17-0.

Fabian, a two-time state placewinner, finishes the season 51-1. His career record is 185-24.

To follow along from the finals, click on the live blog below.

Scroll to the bottom to see updated brackets heading into the finals. A live blog from the semifinals and consolations is below that.

Division I New York State Wrestling Championships by

02/22/13 3:30pm
02/22/2013 3:30 PM

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian won 7-0 in the 126-pound quarterfinals against Nick Toutant of Indian River Friday at the New York State Championships in Albany.

Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian’s quest for a state championship began with a pair of dominant wins Friday afternoon at Times Union Center in Albany.

After a bevy of upsets, his road to a state title will take an unexpected route.

Fabian, the top seed at 126, opened his tournament with a 10-0 major decision over John McHugh, a junior from Columbia (Section II). Fabian followed that with a 7-0 win over Nick Toutant, a sophomore from Indian River (Section III).

He’s yet to surrender a point.

When the bracket came out, it looked like Fabian would be in line to face former state champion Mark West of Hauppauge in the semifinals. But West, the No. 4 seed, went down in the first round, 7-3, against Fredrick Dunau of St. Anthony’s.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed and defending state champion Dylan Realbuto of Somers (Section I) lost in the quarterfinals when he was pinned in 3 minutes 27 seconds by Keanu Thompson of Grand Street Campus. Realbuto was second in the state two years ago.

In another quarterfinal, No. 3 seed Chris Arraoz of Wantagh lost his quarterfinal match against Antonio Deluco of Rome Free Academy (Section III).

The semifinals begin 10 a.m. Saturday.

Click below for a live blog from Day 1 of the New York State Wrestling Championships.

02/21/13 8:00pm
02/21/2013 8:00 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO  |  Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian placed third at 126 pounds in the county tournament.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian placed third at 126 pounds in the county tournament.

The match may have been a consolation final, a battle for third place, but the stakes couldn’t have been any higher.

Shoreham-Wading River senior T. J. Fabian knew what was on the line when he squared off against Huntington’s Corey Jamison last Wednesday at Walt Whitman High School. His goal of a county title had been cut short earlier in the tournament by Jamison, but a larger goal remained on the horizon.

A third-place finish would lock Fabian into the at-large bid to the New York State Championship beginning Friday in Albany. A loss likely meant the end of the season.

“I think the entire fan base there were all watching that one match,” said Shoreham coach Joe Condon. “There was a lot of noise. It was so loud you could barely hear the referees.”

After losing to Jamison in the quarterfinals, Fabian returned the favor with a 2-0 victory that not only earned him a spot in the state championships, but propelled him to the No. 1 seed in the 126-pound bracket.

[The News-Review will be providing live updates from Albany Friday and Saturday].

Two days after the win, Fabian (47-1) officially got word that he would be headed to Albany as a wild card for the second straight season as he looks to improve on his fourth-place finish last year.

Against Jamison, who lost in the semifinals to fall into the wrestlebacks, Fabian scored on a second-period reversal for the only points of the match. “When he lost in the quarters, he made the decision that he had no options,” Condon said. “He had to take third place. He has a lot of resolve and he was determined.”

[Scroll below for the complete Division I brackets].

A four-time league champion, Fabian will open the state tournament against John McHugh, a junior from Columbia (Section II). Condon said they are familiar with McHugh from many of the other tournaments Fabian has competed in. A quarterfinal matchup would pit Fabian against either Nick Toutant of Indian River (Section III) or Frankie Gissendanner of Penfield (Section V) if he can advance.

“[Fabian’s] going to be ready,” Condon said. “I think he’s going to have a good chance to get that state title. And we’re really hoping, because he’s deserved it.”

Fabian will be aiming to become the fourth wrestler in Shoreham history to win a state championship. Wildcats have crowned state champions eight times, led by Jesse Jantzen’s four titles from 1997-2000. Corey Jantzen won in 2006 and ’07 and Steven Keith won in ’07 and ’09.

To prepare for the state tournament, Fabian has trained this week with other Section XI wrestlers at Sachem East High School. The county championship team serves as the host gym for all the wrestlers in the week leading up to the states.

“A lot of these guys have trained together for years,” Condon said. “Some of the guys were T. J.’s opponents in other years. He’s wrestling with kids who have different styles, different body types and strengths and weaknesses. He’s getting good prep time.”

Before wrestling Jamison in the consolation final, Fabian got a forfeit victory over Brad Wade of Islip, who couldn’t wrestle due to injury. Condon said Fabian came out aggressive in his match against Jamison, who is a defensive-style wrestler.

“He was attacking the entire time,” Condon said. “There was never a threat of him losing. He controlled the match from start to finish. He was in shooting on him and attacking.”

It shows just how tough the 126-pound weight class is this season in Suffolk County that Jamison, the only wrestler to beat Fabian, was left out of the state tournament.

Mark West of Hauppauge, the county champion at 126, would be in line to wrestle Fabian in the semifinals if both wrestlers win their first two matches. Jimmy Leach of Eastport/South Manor finished second in the county but did not receive a wild-card spot.

“It’s probably the deepest weight in the state,” Condon said.

Waiting on the other side of the bracket as the No. 2 seed is the defending state champion, Dylan Realbuto of Somers (Section I).

“Winning New York State is so difficult,” Condon said. “Very few kids even come close.”

joew@timesreview.com

Division I New York State Wrestling Championships by

02/14/13 12:16am
02/14/2013 12:16 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian placed third at 126 pounds in the county tournament Wednesday.

T.J. Fabian’s hopes for a state title remain alive.

After losing in the quarterfinals of the Section XI county tournament, the Shoreham-Wading River senior rallied to place third at 126 pounds to give himself a chance at earning a wild card bid to the state championship in Albany.

To earn a third-place finish, Fabian needed to defeat the wrestler who knocked him off earlier in the tournament for his first and only loss of the season. Huntington junior Corey Jamison narrowly defeated Fabian in the quarterfinals Tuesday before losing in the semifinals. That sent him on a collision course to meet Fabian again in the consolation round Wednesday.

Fabian wasn’t about to lose twice.

Fabian edged Jamison 2-0 in the consolation final, a huge victory that all but assures him a return trip to states. Last year Fabian was fourth in New York after earning a wild card bid.

The wild card bids won’t be determined until all the section tournaments are completed.

Fabian needed to win one match Wednesday at Walt Whitman High School to advance to the consolation final against Jamison. As it turned out, he earned a forfeit win, leaving only one match to wrestle. He was supposed to wrestle Brad Wade of Islip in his first match but Wade suffered an ankle injury that ended his tournament.

Two other Shoreham wrestlers competed Wednesday in the second day of the county tournament. Dom Pirraglia at 182 won his first consolation match, 8-2, before losing via pin in the consolation final for fourth place.

James Szymanski at 106 lost his first match, 6-4, to drop to the fifth/sixth match. He won via forfeit for fifth place.

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.

joew@timesreview.com

02/08/13 3:16am
02/08/2013 3:16 AM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Tomasz Filipkowski at last year’s North Fork Invitational.

Local high school wrestlers looking to be crowned county champions this weekend will have to wait a little longer.

So, too, will other area athletes scheduled to compete in games this Friday and Saturday.

The impending blizzard expected to dump more than a foot of snow on the North Fork has forced Section XI officials to postpone all school sporting events until Sunday or later.

Most notably, the Division II wrestling championships have been pushed back to 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Center Moriches High School and the Division I wrestling championships will now be held Monday and Tuesday at Hofstra University.

Stay in touch with the Section XI website for other school sports schedule changes.

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