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

01/19/13 9:34pm
01/19/2013 9:34 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Raheem Brown, left, upset the top three seeds at 160 pounds, including No. 1 Nick Mastro of Connetquot in the final.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Raheem Brown, left, upset the top three seeds at 160 pounds, including No. 1 Nick Mastro of Connetquot in the final.

NORTH FORK INVITATIONAL

With blood streaming down the right side of his face, Tomasz Filipkowski looked like a cast member from a B-grade horror film, but it was the storybook ending that made this tale so captivating.

It was 10 seconds into the 170-pound final of the North Fork Invitational on Saturday night at Mattituck High School when the bout was stopped temporarily so Filipkowski could be attended to. The Mattituck/Greenport senior said he was struck on his right eyelid by either the head or a tooth of his opponent, No. 1 seed Maleik Henry of Half Hollow Hills East.

A trainer, Colleen McGowan, managed to slow the bleeding and wrapped a bandage around Filipkowski’s head so he could resume the match. Two minutes 28 seconds of blood time were consumed, but that was the only stoppage of the match because of bleeding. The second-seeded Filipkowski went on to bounce back from a 2-1 deficit and defeat Henry, 4-3, in perhaps the most enthralling match of the finals.

After the final buzzer sounded, a joyous Filipkowski clapped for himself and received applause from spectators. He was later recognized for his efforts under adversity by being selected the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.

“It’s pretty sweet,” Filipkowski acknowledged later in the locker room. “It’s one of my top [wins]. It’s at home. It’s against a kid that I lost to before in the season.”

Filipkowski, who was a champion in last year’s tournament as well, defeated Henry twice last season, but then lost to him in the Half Hollow Hills East Tournament final earlier this season. That was motivation enough. When Filipkowski sustained the cut, which was expected to require several stitches, it appeared as if it would endanger his plans.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ryan Gevinski of Riverhead, right, reached the 120-pound final before losing, 5-1, to Steven Bolzomi of Connetquot.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ryan Gevinski of Riverhead, right, reached the 120-pound final before losing, 5-1, to Steven Bolzomi of Connetquot.

Asked how much the cut hindered him, Filipkowski replied: “I didn’t think about it at all. I don’t think it affected me too much, to be completely honest. I just went out there and stuck with doing what I had to do during the match.”

Mattituck/Greenport coach Cory Dolson said Filipkowski endured “a little adversity, but nothing major.” The coach said that what Filipkowski did was “nothing eye-opening. That’s what he does. He grinds guys down, he scores takedowns, he doesn’t let guys ride him. That’s a typical match for him.”

Two other Mattituck/Greenport wrestlers reached the top of the podium in their weight classes, junior Brian Pelan and senior Chris Baglivi.

Pelan, a junior seeded No. 1, scored a 6-3 decision against No. 3 Ed Henriques of Harborfields in the 126-pound final.

“I expected myself to win it,” Pelan said. “I wanted to win it, so I put my mind to it and got what I wanted.”

The Tuckers also received a fine performance from Baglivi at 195 pounds. Baglivi, the tournament favorite, was leading his opponent, No. 2 Nick Marcinek of Connetquot, by 5-0 before pinning him at 2 minutes 46 seconds. It was Baglivi’s second tournament title of the season.

“I’ve been going for it for three years, trying to win this tournament,” Baglivi said. “I’m really pumped. It’s always a tough tournament.”

Riverhead sent two wrestlers into the finals, sophomore Raheem Brown (160 pounds) and junior Ryan Gevinski (120).

The sixth-seeded Brown upset the tournament’s top three seeds in his path to winning a champions’ medal and his first career tournament crown. He defeated the No. 1 seed, Nick Mastro of Connetquot, in the final, 6-4.

“You’re tired, you’re fighting,” Brown said. “You just want to win. You want to be the one with your hand raised at the end.”

Brown said he was motivated by his coaches, who got on him following his loss in a dual meet against Hauppauge the night before.

“I’m trying to move up better and better because there are other people out there 10 times better than me,” he said, “and I want to be just like them.”

A week earlier, Brown received the Riverhead team’s weekly most outstanding wrestler award.

“He’s a kid that’s still on his way up,” Riverhead coach Wade “Rocky” Davey said. “He doesn’t realize how good he can be.”

Gevinski, the third seed, dropped a 5-1 decision to No. 1 Steven Bolzomi of Connetquot in their final.

Connetquot and Rocky Point, recognized as being among the top teams in the state, lived up to their billing. Connetquot won the team title for the third year in a row, posting 376 points in the 12-team tournament. Rocky Point was the runner-up with 279, and Mattituck/Greenport third with 210.

“Our guys wrestled great today,” Dolson said. “Third place is a tremendous performance for our team.”

Following his tremendous performance, Filipkowski removed his headgear, revealing a stream of blood trickling down his face while photographers snapped away.

Said Pelan, “That’s going to look sweet in the paper, that’s for sure.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

01/15/13 11:00am
01/15/2013 11:00 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | T.J. Fabian of Shoreham-Wading River competes in a match last season. On Saturday he won the 126-pound title at the Eastern States Classic.

In high school wrestling, few tournaments can compare to the Eastern States Classic, held annually at Sullivan Community College. The stakes may not be as high as the state championship, but the competition is just as fierce — if not tougher, since there is no separation between Division I and II wrestlers.

As a fourth-place finisher in the state last year, Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian came into this season with lofty goals. On Saturday, he served notice as one of the favorites to win the 126-pound title this year when he won first place at Eastern States.

Fabian, the No. 3 seed, defeated top-seeded Dylan Realbuto 3-2 in the finals. Click below to watch the full match.

Realbuto, a senior from Somers (Section 1), is the defending state champion at 113 pounds. He was second in the state two years ago at 96.

01/04/13 10:28pm
01/04/2013 10:28 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead’s Tim Hynes, facing the camera, used an escape point with 2.2 seconds remaining in overtime to top Deer Park’s Ed St. Bernard.

FALCONS 42, BLUE WAVES 34

The Riverhead Blue Waves dropped their Suffolk County League IV wrestling opener, 42-34, to host Deer Park on Friday night.

Despite the loss, eight wrestlers recorded victories for Riverhead (1-1, 0-1). Deer Park improved to 1-4, 1-0.

Kyle Helgams (120 pounds), Ryan Gevinski (125) and Joe Morales (160) registered pins for Riverhead in their respective weight classes.
Five Blue Waves won by decision. Brandon Elroumy won the 106-pound match, 11-2, and Cody Weiss did likewise, 11-6, at 113 pounds. Sergio Farjarda recorded a 4-0 triumph at 132. Tim Hynes squeaked past Ed St. Bernard, 5-4, earning 1 point for an escape with only 2.2 seconds remaining in his encounter. Jerry Lopez also registered a victory in the waning seconds of double overtime at 285 pounds, earning a point for an escape with 20.4 seconds remaining in the match.

Riverhead will host Half Hollow Hills West on Wednesday.

12/22/12 12:00pm
12/22/2012 12:00 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Mike Von Bommel, one of Riverhead’s seven league finalists last season, wrestling Maxwell Chin of Hauppauge in a 182-pound county semifinal.

The theme at the start of last season for Riverhead centered around all the young wrestlers who made up the majority of the team. The Blue Waves featured 16 freshmen and by the end of the season, Riverhead was placing third in the League IV Tournament.

The hope was, with so much youth, the Blue Waves would return this season more experienced and better prepared for the rigors of a competitive league.

Only it hasn’t panned out quite as the Blue Waves had hoped.

“We were looking forward to a little bit more experience coming back this year, but it just didn’t pan out,” said Riverhead coach Wade Davey.

Through a variety of reasons — some wrestlers not coming out for the team this year and injuries — the Blue Waves will rely on a mostly inexperienced group of wrestlers this season.

Davey said to start the season the team is without seven starters because of injuries.

“It’s going to be a building year,” Davey said. “We’re going to go with what we have and try to build them up.”

It’ll be an excellent opportunity for many of the wrestlers to get more time on the mat against top competition. It won’t always be easy and Davey said developing the right attitude will be key.

“We’re going to go out and do the best we can,” he said.

The Blue Waves don’t feature many year-round wrestlers, so the early part of the season has come down to working on a lot of basics and fundamentals.

“In wrestling you really have to have the basics down before you can go on,” Davey said. “Realistically [Monday] we spent the entire day on singles and doubles [takedowns].”

Davey said he hopes toward the end of the season the team will start to catch up to some of the opposing teams that return more experienced wrestlers.

The Blue Waves will feature Brandon Elroumy at 106 pounds this season. A JV wrestler last season, Elroumy has impressed the coaches so far this season. He pinned Haiau Duong of East Hampton in a dual meet win Dec. 13.

The Blue Waves won the dual meet, 63-22, an impressive start for an inexperienced team.

One of the top returning wrestlers is sophomore Cody Weiss at 113. He was an all-league wrestler last season who advanced to the county tournament.

“He’ll be one of our leaders,” Davey said.

Another returning all-league wrestler is Kyle Helgans at 120. Ryan Gevinski returns after finishing fourth in the league last year. After wrestling 113 last season, he’ll jump up to 126.

The Blue Waves are without one of their other returning all-league wrestlers after Eugene Hyland suffered an injury during a meet this season. Davey said he wasn’t sure whether he would get the 195-pounder back this year. Hyland was second in the league tournament last season.

“That’s the experience we have on the team,” Davey said. “The young kids are going to battle and hopefully they can come on through the year.”

A few bright spots among the younger wrestlers are freshmen Kerry Thomas and Luke Colter, who will both wrestle at 99.

Freshman Mitch Hobbs will wrestle at 152.

“He’s really approaching wrestling the way it should be approached,” Davey said. “He’s working his butt off and he’s improving every day.”

League IV will be even tougher this season for Riverhead with the addition of East Islip. The Redmen, one of the upper teams in the county, join the league that already features two tremendous programs in Hauppauge and Hills West.

“It doesn’t make it very easy,” Davey said. “I don’t mind having tough competition because it only makes the kids better.”

The Blue Waves will wrestle a non-league dual meet against Baldwin Friday. They’ll travel to Somers High School Dec. 29 for a tournament before the league dual meet season kicks into gear in the new year.

joew@timesreview.com

12/20/12 8:00pm
12/20/2012 8:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian enters the season ranked No. 1 in the county at 126.

Duplicating the success of last season would seem practically impossible for Shoreham-Wading River.

Three all-state wrestlers.

League tournament championship.

Undefeated dual meet season.

No, the Wildcats may not be as stacked as last year — but they’ll still be a force to be reckoned with, led by senior T.J. Fabian.

“We’re trying to stay in the same positive direction,” said Shoreham coach Joe Condon. “I think the 11 seniors that graduated, pretty much who we had since kindergarten, left a good impression. The older guys last year worked with [the younger guys] a lot and I think they’re going to try to follow suit.”

Fabian is the leader and most accomplished wrestler in the room for Shoreham. After finishing second in the county tournament last year, he made the most of an at-large bid to the state tournament by placing fourth at 120 pounds. This season he’ll bump up to 126, where he’ll be one of the favorites to win a county title and return to Albany for the state championship.

Fabian had a busy offseason, wrestling in tournaments all across the region.

“He sought out everyone he could,” Condon said. “He got about 55-60 matches in the offseason. He lifted weights. He’s dedicated himself and I think he has improved.”

Fabian is a wrestler who can score from any position and “doesn’t really have any weak areas,” Condon said.

While Fabian is an outstanding individual wrestler, his impact on the team is also felt in the way he helps guide the younger wrestlers.

“He does train very hard, but he always has time for the other kids,” Condon said. “It’s been a blessing having him on the team.”

Fabian is one of seven starters in the lineup who are returning this season.

One of the key returnees in the lower weights is James Szymanski, who was a league finalist at 99 last season. He’ll wrestle 106 this season and Condon said he has a chance to win a county title. Szymanski is currently ranked fifth in the county.

Fabian and Szymanski are the only Shoreham wrestlers currently in the top six in the county. Fabian is ranked No. 1 at 126, ahead of Hauppauge senior Mark West. Huntington junior Corey Jamison could factor in at 126 as well, although he’s currently ranked No. 1 at 120.

Chris Meloni returns to wrestle at 113 for the Wildcats. He was a fourth-place finisher in the league tournament last season to just miss qualifying for the state tournament.

“We’re looking for some big things from Chris,” Condon said.

Jack Taddeo, a third-place finisher in the league as an eighth-grader, returns to wrestle 120. Taddeo is off to a fast start this season with a 5-1 record.

Troy Miller, who’s reached the finals of a tournament already this season, will wrestle 138. David Keith will wrestle 145. He was an all-league wrestler two years ago. Ryan Stern, one of the senior leaders, will wrestle 152.

“He’s an excellent all-around athlete,” Condon said. “His athletic ability alone and his drive I think is going to help him have a good chance to place in the leagues and possibly place in the counties.”

Mike Neidhart, younger brother of former all-state wrestler T.J. Neidhart, will wrestle 170. Neidhart was stuck behind two all-state wrestlers last year, otherwise he would have been consistently in the lineup. Condon said Neidhart could have started on most teams last year.

Dominic Pirraglia was league finalist last year and will wrestle 182 again this season. Max Goldfarb returns to wrestle 195 after placing third in the league last year.

“He’s hoping to win the league title this year,” Condon said. “That’s his goal.”

The Wildcats have had to deal with some injuries in the heavyweights, some that happened before wrestling season.

The Wildcats will compete in a competitive League VI that features two strong teams in Rocky Point and Westhampton Beach. Condon said he thought those two teams would be the favorites. John Glenn, Mount Sinai and Miller Place all typically have strong programs. Sayville moved up a league and East Hampton came in as the only addition this season.

Shoreham opened the dual meet season Dec. 13 with a 64-6 victory over Bellport. In a tournament at Walt Whitman Dec. 8, Fabian was the only champion, but the Wildcats had nine wrestlers in the top three.

“Our kids have worked very hard, they’re very dedicated and a committed group of kids,” Condon said.

joew@timesreview.com

03/05/12 8:00pm
03/05/2012 8:00 PM

HARVARD ATHLETICS PHOTO | Harvard junior Steven Keith will wrestle at the NCAA Championship starting March 15.

Former Shoreham-Wading River wrestlers Corey Jantzen (’07) and Steven Keith (’09) earned a trip to the NCAA Championship after placing in the top six at the EIWA Championship last weekend in Princeton, N.J.

Both Harvard wrestlers will be making their third trip to the NCAA Championship.

Keith, a two-time state champion in high school, leads Harvard in victories with a 30-8 record while wrestling at 133 pounds as a junior. He finished third at the EIWA Championship. He entered the tournament as the top seed and received a first-round bye. He then won a 6-1 decision in the quarterfinals against Christopher Perez of Princeton.

Keith lost 3-1 in the semifinals to Aaron Kalil of Navy. He bounced back with two victories to win the consolation finals and take third.

Keith was named first team All-Ivy League for the first time in his career. Keith has been ranked as high as ninth in the country in his weight.

Jantzen, a senior who has been riddled with injuries throughout his college career, wrestled for the first time in over a month as the No. 2 seed at 149. He won a 9-0 major decision in his first match against Andrew Murano of Marshall. He pinned Alex Pellicciotti of Bucknell in 36 seconds in his next match before dropping out of the tournament due to injury and settling for sixth place.

Jantzen was also a two-time state champion in high school.

The NCAA Championship begins March 15 in St. Louis.