The Glen Cove wrestling team finished in eighth place this year, ahead of 42 other teams in the Nassau County Tournament. In the final match of the tournament, Charles McCullough was crowned Nassau County Champion. McCullough will represent Glen Cove and Nassau County at the New York State Wrestling Championships in Syracuse on March 1 and 2.
Glen Cove was optimistic sending eight wrestlers to the counties. Senior Pete Liodice and eighth-grader Brian Monahan both wrestled well, but came up short in the opening round.
Freshman Darrel Hopkins had the upset of the day as he pinned the highly regarded Matt Borowka of Bethpage in the opening round. After going up 1-0 in the second period, Hopkins cradled up Borowka for a set of back points. After Borowka got free, Hopkins cradled him again for the pin. This was the first of several pins for Glen Cove which helped greatly in the scoring. A pin is an additional two points in tournament competition,. Without the pins, Glen Cove would not have scored 76 points for the tournament. Hopkins lost in the quarter finals and the wrestle backs, but picked up some much-needed experience that will help in years to come.
Junior Danny Marks had a solid tournament, picking up three victories. Marks pinned his opening round opponent from Great Neck South. Marks then won a decision over Andrew Guardado of Great Neck North. He lost in the quarter finals to Seaford's Joe Bulone. He was able to wrestle back and defeat a tough competitor from Valley Stream North. In the final bout to go all-county, Marks lost to East Meadow's Greg Dalton. Mark's losses were to the wrestlers who took second and third in the weight class.
Senior Marcus Bianconi also had an outstanding tournament. Bianconi won his opening match against his opponent from Great Neck North. Bianconi then wrestled number one seed and eventual champion Carlos Patrick of Freeport. Bianconi lost an 8-3 decision, but was not done. In the wrestle backs, Bianconi won a big upset over Anthony Tobia of Calhoun, 2-1. Many considered Tobia to be one of the top three wrestlers in the weight class. After a hard six minutes, Bianconi was victorious. He also came one match from all-county as he lost a close decision to Tom Deluca of East Meadow.
Jeff Oglesby kept Glen Cove rolling as well. After an opening round bye Oglesby, he hit a Peterson roll to outpoint his tough opponent from Freeport. He then faced Chris Weidman of Baldwin in the quarter finals. Weidman is currently ranked second in New York State. Weidman was a bit too much for Oglesby, but the latter was not done. Oglesby then pinned his opponent from Oceanside in the wrestle backs and he, too, found himself one match from all-county. Oglesby lost a close decision to Joe Vasold of MacArthur. Though Oglesby, Bianconi, Marks and Hopkins fell short of their personal goals, the top 10 finish for the Glen Cove squad was greatly due to them. The four wrestlers scored 25 points for the "Big Red."
Senior Matt Hurwitz finished off his senior season in style taking fourth place and earning all-county honors. Hurwitz started the tournament with a tech fall over Mike Yngstrom of Calhoun. Hurwitz then went into double overtime to defeat Chris Delva of Baldwin. Hurwitz got caught against Chris Bretton of Bethpage missing the semifinals. He wrestled back with victories over Mike Aquino of Seaford and Andrew Gallo of Wheatly to go all-county. Hurwitz was not finished, however. He avenged an early season 7-5 loss to Massapequa's Mike Phillips by pinning Phillips in the second period. Hurwitz then faced Bretton of Bethpage again to see who would take third place. Hurwitz lost a 5-2 decision to finish a very respectable fourth.
Senior Charles McCullough was on a mission. After an opening round bye, McCullough pinned Chris Gallopini of Massapequa in the first period. He followed that up with a first-period pin over James Navarro of Wheatly. This win put McCullough into the semifinals. On Sunday, the semifinal matchup had McCullough wrestling Chris Jessemy of Westbury. McCullough took Jessemy down with a double, then turned his opponent for another first-period pin. In the finals, McCullough faced Joe Bulone of Seaford. The two had wrestled before with McCullough coming out on top. McCullough had seen Bulone at the football all-star game and knew that he had really hit the weights. The two big men battled most of the first period until McCullough snatched up a single leg and scored a two-point takedown with seven seconds to go. With the 2-0 lead, McCullough chose to be down in the second period. Bulone went for turk to try to pin McCullough. McCullough worked his way out and the two were locked up in the middle of their mat. McCullough hit a headlock that put Bulone to his back. As the two battled for position, McCullough lost control of Bulone's arm and the ref made them start again. McCullough wasted no time turning Bulone to his back and scoring his fourth pin.
McCullough not only won the Nassau County Championship, He also won the Hennigan award for most pins in the least amount of time. McCullough's four pins took only 7.02. McCullough is the only wrestler for Glen Cove to be crowned champion since Ryan Fletcher in 1997. The only other Nassau champion from Glen Cove was Bob Applebaum in 1972.
McCullough is now getting ready for the New York State Tournament in Syracuse this weekend. He is working hard and getting ready to take one match at a time as he gets ready to face the top wrestlers in New York State.