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…)

02/10/14 5:53pm
02/10/2014 5:53 PM
DANIEL DE MATO FILE PHOTO | Ed Matyka of Riverhead, right, pinned North Babylon's Dav Meile-Estrella at 2 minutes 16 seconds of the 113-pound final for his second North Fork Invitational title in three years last month.

DANIEL DE MATO FILE PHOTO | Ed Matyka of Riverhead, right, pinned North Babylon’s Dav Meile-Estrella at 2 minutes 16 seconds of the 113-pound final for his second North Fork Invitational title in three years last month.


The Riverhead High School wrestling coach, Wade Davey, likes to break down the season into three parts. First, there are the early-season tournaments before Christmas. Then the league dual-meet season kicks into gear. The third phase of the season starts with the league tournaments, continues with the county tournament and then culminates with the state championships.  (more…)

02/08/14 10:07pm
02/08/2014 10:07 PM

Shoreham-Wading River senior Dom Pirraglia (top) recorded four pins en route to the 182-pound league title Saturday. (Bill Landon photo)


In his first three years on the varsity for Shoreham-Wading River, James Szymanski was a two-time all-league wrestler. Last year, he placed fifth at the county tournament.

For all he’s accomplished in his career, a league title still eluded him after two runner-up finishes the past two years. (more…)

01/24/14 8:27pm
01/24/2014 8:27 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior James Szymanski won 8-6 at 120 pounds against East Hampton’s Lucas Escobar.


The dual meet’s outcome was never in question; seven forfeits made sure of that.

Still, there was plenty at stake Friday night for Shoreham-Wading in the final dual meet of the League VI season. Mostly, at 120 pounds, where two top-ranked wrestlers in Suffolk County squared off, a likely preview of the league championship finals.

Shoreham junior James Szymanski entered with just two losses on the season, both at the Eastern States Classic. The second-ranked wrestler in the county, Szymanski was matched up against East Hampton’s Lucas Escobar, the sixth-ranked wrestler in the county.

In the marquee matchup, Szymanski came out the aggressor and prevailed 8-6. The win highlighted a rare shutout victory as the Wildcats won all 15 matches for a lopsided 80-0 win at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

Szymanski led 5-3 heading into the third period. He started on bottom in the the third and scored a quick reversal to extend his lead. But Escobar scored two with 1:20 left to make it a one-point match. Szymanski held on and scored once more on an escape for the final margin.

At 182 pounds, senior Dom Pirraglia pinned his opponent in 2 minutes 49 seconds to record his 100th career win. He became the 18th Shoreham wrestler to reach the century club, which also includes Szymanski.

Pirraglia will likely enter the league tournament as the favorite in his weight class.

Pirraglia’s pin was one of four for Shoreham against the Bonackers. David Keith (152), Brendan Frances (220) and Jack Taddeo (132) all recorded pins. John Carl Petretti won by technical fall at 113.

Troy Miller won a 6-3 decision at 160 and Tyler Anderson won 5-1 at 285. Anderson, a standout football and lacrosse player, is in his first year wrestling as a senior.

Shoreham closes out the league season 6-1. The Wildcats’ only loss came against John Glenn.

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01/18/14 9:14pm
01/18/2014 9:14 PM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Ed Matyka of Riverhead, right, pinned North Babylon's Dav Meile-Estrella at 2 minutes 16 seconds of the 113-pound final for his second North Fork Invitational title in three years.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Ed Matyka of Riverhead, right, pinned North Babylon’s Dav Meile-Estrella at 2 minutes 16 seconds of the 113-pound final for his second North Fork Invitational title in three years.


Ed Matyka is at his best wrestling when he is on top. That is his preferred position. That is his strength. And that it where he finished on Saturday in the 113-pound weight class of the 17th annual North Fork Invitational — on top.

The Riverhead junior had a great day in the tournament at Mattituck High School, winning all four of his bouts on pins, including his defeat of Dav Meile-Estrella of North Babylon at 2 minutes 16 seconds of their final. Earlier in the tournament, the fourth-seeded Matyka, Riverhead’s only finalist, had pinned Ithan Udell of Half Hollow Hills East, John Barrios of Connetquot and the top-seeded Alex Hin of Miller Place.

Matyka (17-4) won a title in the same tournament two years ago, but sat out last year’s event because of injury.

Two other Riverheaders, Chris Flood (106 pounds) and Cody Weiss (120), took third place in their weight classes. Flood did so with a 2-0 decision over Justin O’Neill of North Babylon in the wrestlebacks. Weiss pinned Ryan Beninlase of Connetquot at 2:24 in their third-place bout.

Mattituck/Greenport had a good showing itself, finishing second among the 10 teams with 255 1/2 points (Connetquot was first for the fourth straight year with 377 and Riverhead was fifth with 131) and sending six wrestlers into the finals. All six of them — Brian Pelan (132), Bobby Becker (138), Tanner Zagarino (152), Christian Angelson (160), Sal Loverde (182) and Connor Andersen (220) — had to settle for runner-up medals, however.

In those finals: Pelan dropped a 2-0 decision to Ed Hart of Connetquot; James Matias of Rocky Point beat Becker, 13-2; Greg Cherry of Connetquot pinned Zagarino in 47 seconds; Allon Augi of Connetquot pinned Angelson in 46 seconds; Chris Beal of Connetquot defeated Loverde, 6-2; and Brian Henn of Connetquot pinned Anderson at 3:27.

Mattituck/Greenport received a third-place finish from Ryan Bergen at 152 pounds by virtue of his 8-3 win over Justin Ortega of Bay Shore in the consolation match. Four other Tuckers finished fourth: Lucas Webb (126), James Hoeg (145), Joe Peroni (170) and Adam Goode (195).

Tommy Dutton of Rocky Point was selected the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. Dutton dominated the 145-pound final, handing Geno Titone of Connetquot an 11-1 defeat.

The Champion of Champions honor went to Sean Miller of Connetquot. Miller pinned Anthony Cirillo of Rocky Point at 4:18 of the 106-pound final.

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01/15/14 9:11pm
01/15/2014 9:11 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead’s Raheem Brown (top) pinned Deer Park’s Daniel Fisher at 170 pounds Wednesday in a dual meet.


The strength of the Riverhead wrestling team’s lineup rests in the lower to middle weights. The Blue Waves knew going into Wednesday’s League IV dual meet, which began at 99 pounds, that they would need a sizable lead before the final few matches, where the advantage would shift to the Falcons.

The Blue Waves did the job for most of the way, winning seven of the first 11 matches to take a 37-18 lead.

But the Falcons came storming back, winning the final four matches, three via pin, to steal a 39-37 win at Riverhead High School. The Blue Waves could have afforded losing all four of their final matches; they just couldn’t lose three by pin.

After a scoreless first period in the decisive 285-pound match, Valter Piccini of Deer Park scored a reversal 30 seconds into the second. He held the lead before finally turning Riverhead’s Chris Williams to his back with about 30 seconds left. Deer Park’s wrestlers jumped out of their seats on the bench and crowded the mat cheering Piccini as he inched closer and closer to the pin.

With just one second left, the referee slammed his hand on the mat.

Game, set, match.

The Blue Waves dropped to 0-2 in League IV, both matches that they could have won. It was a disappointing start given the dual meets that still remain, including Hauppauge and East Islip.

Four of Riverhead’s wins Wednesday came via pin, helping them accumulate a 19-point advantage with four matches to go. Ed Matyka pinned Damien Rodriguez at 113 pounds in 1:18, the quickest pin of the match.

Other pins for Riverhead came from Chris Flood at 106, John Schmitt at 145 and Raheem Brown at 170. Brown secured a pin with one second left on the clock in the second period against Daniel Fisher.

Jaiden Blom won the closest match of the night, 5-4, at 160 against Eddie Benoit. Blom trailed 3-0 in the second period before scoring a takedown with 40 seconds left. Two back points put him ahead 4-3 before Benoit escaped to tie the match heading into the third. Blom escaped midway through the third and held on, despite a stall warning with 20 seconds left.

Senior Ryan Gevinski, Riverhead’s only wrestler who qualified for last year’s county championship, won a 14-3 major decision at 138.

At 99, Kerry Thomas wrestled a tough match against Tom Cox, the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the county at that weight. Thomas fell 3-0, a much closer match than when Cox pinned him in a dual meet last year.

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01/11/14 6:35pm
01/11/2014 6:35 PM

Shoreham-Wading River junior James Szymanski wrestled to fifth place Saturday at the Eastern States Classic, one of the biggest and toughest wrestling tournaments on the East Coast.

Szymanski, wrestling 120 pounds, went 6-2 in the tournament as the No. 9 seed. In the fifth/sixth consolation match, he won 3-2 against Luis Weierbach of Hoosick Falls.

To open the tournament, Szymanski defeated Keven Dunshee of Sherburne-Earlville. He lost in the second round to Dylan Booth of Port Jervis, 1-0.

The loss dropped Szymanski to the wrestlebacks, where he rattled off four straight wins to advance to the consolation semifinals. He lost 4-0 to Bryan Lantry of Wayne, the No. 4 seed.

The Wildcats have had plenty of success over the years at the Eastern States, which is held at Sullivan Community College in Loch Sheldrake upstate. Last year, T.J. Fabian won the 126-pound title at the tournament before going on to win a state championship.

In his third wrestleback match, Szymanski defeated teammate Chris Meloni, who was unseeded. Meloni won three matches to open the tournament and advanced into the quarterfinals. He defeated the No. 7 seed, Joe Dillon of Nanuet, in the second round, by a 14-4 major decision. Meloni wrestled the No. 2 seed, Weierbach, in the quarterfinals and fell 4-1. Meloni’s first wrestleback match pitted him against Szymanski.

At 182 pounds, Dom Pirraglia opened as the No. 11 seed and went 3-2 in the tournament.

At 132 pounds, Jack Taddeo was unseeded and won his first two matches. He lost his first wrestleback match.

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ROBERT O'ROURK FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River's James Szymanski during his freshman season.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River’s James Szymanski during his freshman season.

01/08/14 7:00pm
01/08/2014 7:00 PM
COURTESY PHOTO  | Jesse Jantzen was the first-ever four-time state wrestling champion in Suffolk history. He went on to win a national title at Harvard.

COURTESY PHOTO | Jesse Jantzen was the first-ever four-time state wrestling champion in Suffolk history. He went on to win a national title at Harvard.

One of the greatest wrestlers in New York history will now have one more accolade to his illustrious career.

Jesse Jantzen, the famed Shoreham-Wading River wrestler who won four state titles from 1997-2000, will be formally elected into the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Hall of Fame March 9, it was announced Monday. Jantzen is one of four wrestlers who will be inducted this year.

At Shoreham, Jantzen became the most accomplished wrestler of his time, never losing a match during his high school career. His last loss came as an eighth grader. He compiled a 221-3 record at Shoreham, finishing third in the state as a seventh and eighth grader before running off four straight undefeated seasons.

Jantzen went on to excel at the collegiate level, winning the 149-pound NCAA title at Harvard University in 2004. He continued to wrestle internationally after college and pursued qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, although his bid came up short.

In Times/Review’s 2011 countdown of the greatest athletes in area history, Jantzen was ranked No. 4.

Joining Jantzen in the 2014 Hall of Fame class are Kyle Dake (Cornell, ’13), David Pottruck (Penn ’70) and Matthew Valenti (Penn ’07). Jantzen will become the third Harvard wrestler to be enshrined in the hall of fame.

Last year, Dake won his fourth national title at Cornell and was the first wrestler to ever win all four at different weight classes. Dake was a two-time state champion at Lansing High School.

The induction ceremony will take place at Penn Palestra. Ticket information is available here.

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