The benefit to being the No. 1 seed in a wrestling tournament is that, theoretically at least, it offers the path of least resistance.
John Carl Petretti made the most of that advantage Saturday when he won his second straight league championship in convincing fashion.
The Shoreham-Wading River High School junior was serenaded by his teammates in the stands at Miller Place High School with chants of “JCP! JCP! JCP!” as his arm was raised by the referee as the 152-pound champion at the Suffolk County League VI Tournament.
A tall, lean and strong figure in his gold singlet, the 6-foot-1 Petretti was his dominant self. Hardly a surprise.
Following a first-round bye, the top-seeded Petretti wasted no time in beating his first two opponents with quick pins. He stopped Westhampton Beach’s Chris Dalco in 14 seconds before putting Miller Place’s Matthew Leen down in 46 seconds.
Miller Place senior Eric Romero-Cisneros made Petretti work harder in the final. Regardless, Petretti was Petretti, building a 10-1 lead in the first period and extending it to 15-1 before pinning Romero-Cisneros (11-8) at 3:26. Altogether, it was three pins in 4:26 on the day for Petretti. Only Elwood/John Glenn’s Damien Caffrey had three pins in less time, 2:39.
The win brought Petretti’s season record to 33-5 and his career mark to 107-22.
This league final was markedly different than the one Petretti won last year at 138 pounds. In that bout, Petretti was trailing by 3-2 in the third period before turning the match around in the final seconds with the aid of a reversal and a spladle, a creative, high-risk counter move for a 7-5 victory over Mount Sinai’s Lionel Paul. It brought Petretti the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler award.
Like Petretti, Shoreham senior Ryan Condon received a first-round bye and pinned his first two opponents on Saturday, both from Sayville. Condon’s pin of Bradley Eisner at 1:32, followed by his pin of Maximus Maizus, sent him into the 182-pound title bout against a tough opponent, Glenn junior Joe Franzese.
The second-seeded Condon received a last-second high-five from his father, Shoreham coach Joe Condon, before heading onto the mat. Condon’s teammates stomped their feet in the stands during the match’s opening moments while the wrestlers sized each other up.
Then the top-seeded Franzese took control.
Franzese had built a 9-0 lead by the end of the second period. That was when the referee raised Franzese’s arm, in the belief that Condon bit Franzese. Joe Condon said Franzese told the referees that he wasn’t bitten. After some discussion by the scorer’s table, both wrestlers returned to the mat and Franzese (26-3) completed a 12-1 win. Condon is 34-4.
Connor Pearce (113) and Cooper Cummings (132) took third place for Shoreham. Fourth-place finishes were turned in by teammates Dylan Meloni (113), Christian Aliperti (160), Logan Snyder (195) and Nick Serdock (220).
Shoreham will send eight wrestlers to the Section XI Championships that will be held Feb. 11 and 12 at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.
Shoreham finished fourth in the team scoring with 112 points. Miller Place was first with 241 1/2.
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River’s John Carl Petretti, left, wrestling Miller Place’s Eric Romero-Cisneros in the 152-pound final, won his second straight league championship. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)