Big Red Wrestling All-Conference Champs! Front row: Mike Smith, Jeff Oglesby, Victor Hidalgo, Matt Hurwitz, Joel Basilion, Dave Graziosi, Angelo Filippone and Ed Friskey. Back row: Carmine Portaro, Coach Steve Kocienda, Seth Winston, Mike Petikas, Jeff Rudloff, Marcus Bianconi, Jason Lee, Matt Capobianco, Jose Martinez, Tim Charon, Joe Loiodice, John Romaniello, Pete Loiodice and Coach Pete Kopecky. Photo by Vicki Graziosi
The Glen Cove High School varsity wrestling team won the Nassau County Conference 2A Team Championship on Feb. 6 at Clarke High School, the site of the County Dual Meet Championships. To get to the finals, the team beat Plainedge High School 40-30 on Tuesday night then met Manhasset in the quarterfinals on Friday. The team won easily, getting key victories from Jeff Rudloff, Tim Charon, and Joe Loiodice, winning 42-24. Pins were recorded by Steven Sarmiento, Jeff Rudloff, Mike Petikas and Carmine Portaro.
The finals against top-seeded Valley Stream South were held last Saturday afternoon. The match started with an exciting duel between Sarmiento and VSS Joe Grassa. Sarmiento's speed and agility earned him the victory, 14-9 and Glen Cove had an early lead, 3-0, (the team gets 3 points for a bout victory and 6 points for a pin). Mike Smith stepped on the mat next, wrestling highly-regarded Joe McSwiggan. After a grueling 6 minutes, Smith came away with a hard-fought 9-7 win, the team led 6-0.
The next bout was the most exciting of the day. Senior and Captain Joe Loiodice traded takedowns with Pete Classi until regulation time ran out with the score tied at 6. The two went into overtime, first takedown wins. Joe had what appeared to be the winning score, but the referee called them out of bounds. After another grueling minute, Classi fought for the winning takedown and VSS was on the board 6-3.
Victor Hidalgo upped the Glen Cove lead to 9-3 with an impressive 10-3 victory. However, VSS pulled even in the next match with a pin tying the score at 9. The Big Red now came to the nitty gritty of their lineup. Captain Matt Capobianco, (11-7 win), Jeff Rudloff, (13-1 win), Tim Charon, (5-3 win), and Mike Petikas, (8-1 win), pushed the Glen Cove lead to 23-9. Valley Stream was not done yet, their best wrestlers came up in the last 4 bouts. In the first two, pins by Falcons moved the score to 23-21. VSS needed to win the next two bouts to take the title. Dave Graziosi faced Valley Stream Captain Will Meyer. (Three months ago Dave was instrumental in helping the Big Red football team win its county championship by intercepting a screen pass for a touchdown that defeated Bethpage). Now Dave needed to win to help the wrestlers win a title of their own. Graziosi prevailed once again, earning a major decision 13-3, (4 team points). The team score now stood at 27-21. The last match is always the 215 pound weight class. The Big Red's Carmine Portaro had been asked throughout the season to close down victory with a win and this time all he had to do was not get pinned. In a wild match, a desperate Mike Mammone tried valiantly to pin Portaro, trading flurries of points until finally the bout score ended at 15-11. Mammone won the bout, but Carmine won the match and Glen Cove became the Conference 2A Champions.
This is the wrestling team's third crown in 6 years. This Saturday, the team wrestles in the County Qualifying Tournament at Locust Valley High School starting at 9:30 a.m. Twelve teams enter wrestlers, the top four from each weight class go to the Nassau County Championships held at Nassau Community College. The team is coached by Steve Kocienda and Pete Kopecky.