The looks on the faces of the Shoreham-Wading River wrestlers — a mix of angry, disappointed and unhappy — left little room for interpretation. Being the Suffolk County Division II dual-meet runner-up was little to no consolation.
Asked if he could derive any satisfaction from his team reaching the county final for the first time, SWR senior Dan Dacos replied flatly: “No. We needed to win.”
That didn’t happen.
Top-seeded Mount Sinai, the two-time defending state champion, took 10 of the 15 individual bouts against SWR and nailed down its third straight county championship with a 47-24 victory Saturday. SWR found no solace in that, whatsoever.
“Not really because, you know, no one really remembers the loser in the final,” said SWR sophomore Craig Jablonski (31-2).
The Wildcats knew full well what they were getting into as they marched out of the inflatable tunnel in Bay Shore High School’s Ralph Elliott Gymnasium for the county dual-meet final. It was only 18 days earlier when Mount Sinai defeated SWR, 42-27, in a League VII match in Shoreham.
Mount Sinai (19-4) leaves teams little margin for error. It takes a top-notch performance to defeat the Mustangs. No. 2 seed SWR (21-5) thought it just might have the stuff to do it. Not on this afternoon, though.
“They’re a good team,” Jablonski said. “They obviously deserved that one. They worked harder today than we did. They brought it to us and we didn’t give a good enough fight back.
“We didn’t see any weaknesses in their game. We just thought we could step up our game and maybe take them down, but I guess that didn’t happen.”
The only lead SWR held was at 6-4 after Connor Pearce (30-5) hit the mat like a buzz saw and dominated at 126 pounds. His arm was raised after Luca Martinis was disqualified for stalling.
SWR’s other winners were Jablonski (a pin of Shawn Wells at 1 minute, 27 seconds) at 113 pounds, Dacos (3-2 over Phil Johnson) at 152, Connor DeLumen (2-0 over Gianluca Ferrara) at 220 and Dylan Blanco (a pin of Mike Scott at 3:35) at 285.
That wasn’t enough, though, for the Wildcats.
“I feel like they’re a good team and they just came out on fire and we couldn’t keep up with them,” Blanco (24-4) said. “We have a lot of really good wrestlers who I think are better than Mount Sinai and performed better in the past than they have today, and they just really didn’t show up. There was a couple of close matches that we didn’t come [out] on top [in] and that’s what really killed us in the end.”
Mount Sinai won five bouts on pins by Brayden Fahrbach (at 1:54 against Tom Palumbo at 99 pounds), Mike O’Brien (at 5:18 against Chris Anderson at 138), Matt Campo (at 0:19 against Jack LaValle at 170), Joe Goodrich (at 0:27 against Anthony Giordano at 182) and Adham Sheta (at 2:58 against Jake Ekert at 195).
Winning by decision for the Mustangs were Derek Menechino (7-6 over Chris Colon at 106), Jack Tyrell (9-0 over Tristan Petretti at 120), Brendan Goodrich (4-0 over Jake Jablonski at 132), Ryan Shanian (10-6 over Sean Miller at 145) and Tristan Nardi (19-6 over Dylan Anderson at 160).
“Just disappointment,” was how Dacos (23-8) described his team’s reaction afterward. “We all know we could have done better. We had the chance to win, but we were unlucky, didn’t do our best.”
SWR coach Joe Condon said the Mustangs “didn’t win two back-to-back state titles because they weren’t good. I thought we competed, but there were two or three weights I was hoping to win, but it didn’t come out in our favor … It wasn’t for lack of effort or it wasn’t anything like that. It just didn’t work out the way we hoped and we have work to do.
“To be the best, you have to beat the best. We didn’t get it done today. You have to tip your hat to them.”
Four of SWR’s losses this season have come to defending state champions and state runners-up; the other was to Commack, the Suffolk Division I runner-up.
Condon said his wrestlers “set their goals high. They’re great kids and [show] great sportsmanship. Nobody works harder than these kids. Most of them have exceeded our expectations. I got to give them a lot of credit. They’re very dedicated.”
He added, “They got to learn to overcome adversity and come back stronger, and that’s what they’re going to do.”