FALCONS 39, BLUE WAVES 37
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.