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Wrestling: In league final rematch, Riverhead’s Matyka gets revenge

Even on a night in which his team endures a tough wrestling match, a coach still can find some solace. Take, for instance, Riverhead’s 57-18 loss at Smithtown West Friday night.

There wasn’t much for head coach Tom Riccio to cheer about, although three results left him encouraged.

“Overall, some of the kids wrestled well and some of them did not,” he said.

Seniors Mark Matyka, Ralph Gray and Carlos Perez wrestled well enough as they captured their respective bouts against the Bulls (6-1, 6-0), who are the class of Suffolk County League III.

In a rematch of last year’s league final, Matyka defeated Marvin Canales-Vanegas at 106.

“It was a little bit of a revenge that he got back,” Riccio said. “Mark works very hard in the room. He wrestled well, but I think he could have wrestled a little bit better.”

At 145, Gray secured the Blue Waves’ (3-3 League III) first win of the night — the dual meet started at 132 — as he emerged victorious with a wild 11-10 triumph over Ricky Hutter.

The see-saw affair was the most entertaining of the night. It wasn’t decided until Gray earned two points for a reversal early in the third period to turn a 10-9 deficit into the final score.

“He came out a winner and you can’t complain,” Riccio said, noting he would have liked to have seen Gray wrestle a smarter match. “But a win is a win.”

After Hutter took a 4-2 advantage after the opening period, the middle period was a scramble with both wrestlers pulling off a few reversals and combining for 13 points.

Asked if he liked the way Ralph recovered, Riccio replied, “I expected him to.”

Perez secured Riverhead’s lone pin of the evening at 220, besting Rudy Thebaud with 16 seconds remaining in the second period. Only seconds prior, Perez turned a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 edge with a nice reversal.

“Carlos has been consistent all year long,” Riccio said. “So no complaints about the way he wrestles. I expect it from him.”

Shareed Leonard won heavyweight class by forfeit.

The rest of the Blue Waves struggled as the Bulls recorded four pins.

“We have a lot of young kids in there in the lineup,” Riccio said. “They have to get experience and this the time for experience. They get beat and that’s the way it goes.”

There will be no rest for Riverhead, which will compete in the Warrior Duals at Comsewogue Saturday.

“We’ll go back to the drawing board Monday,” said Riccio, who said “hopefully we’ll wrestle a little bit better,” Saturday.

“They have to go over the stuff we use in the room,” he added.” We have to use it out here and they weren’t doing that today.”