Friday, 12 March 2010 00:00
The Mineola High School varsity wrestling team won the Division II Nassau County Championship recently. The team finished with 226 points, 13 points ahead of Oyster Bay. It was a total effort as the Mustangs placed a wrestler in the top four in 11 of the 13 weight classes they entered.
Mineola had a total of 17 out of the 22 wrestlers place in the top five in the tournament. What made this such a big victory was that the Mustangs had finished second in their league for the fourth straight year after suffering a close and exciting 31-25 championship match to Oyster Bay. Even though the Mustangs had won 43 matches over the last four years they had no team titles to show for it. This county title more than makes up for it.
Here’s the round up going weight class by weight class;
103 lbs. – Freshman Justin Sandler did a great job all year but lost a very close match in the finals 7-6 to Justin Uslander of Valley Stream North as he was taken down with less then a minute to go. Mineola had a strong showing in this weight class as Freshman Yosh Amaya took fourth place. Justin earned All-County honors and, like many of the other Mustangs, with some hard work can have a very bright future.
112 lbs. – Senior co-captain Nick Grimaldi had a tremendous year with a record 24-2. Nick also made it to the finals, for the second straight year, where he had a heart-breaking loss to returning county champ McKinley Morman of Cold Spring Harbor. Nick had an excellent career at Mineola where he amassed 92 wins. He was an excellent leader as his hard work in practice set the example for all the other boys to work and improve. Without that example, this championship would not have been possible. Freshman Calbert Chan also wrestled in this weight class but did not place. He did very well for his first year.
119 lbs. – Senior Mike Cardillo won an exciting match to close out his career by defeating Shane Saltzman of Valley Stream North to capture third place and earn All-County honors. Sophomore Willy Cashin also competed at 119 lbs. and although he did not place, he did a great job all year and at times filled in for Mike Cardillo on the varsity team and had some important wins.
125 lbs. – Junior co-captain Nick Fabiano had an excellent tournament. Nick lost a very close 7-5 decision in the semis to three-time champion Rob Morgan of Oyster Bay. Nick then came back to pin his last opponent to take third place and earn All-County honors. Junior Joe Barcos also competed in this weight class and did not place. Joe did win some matches to add to the team victory.
130 lbs. – Freshman Matt Long had an excellent tournament. After losing a close 5-3 decision to eventual champion Kyle Sicurella of Valley Stream North in the semis, Matt came back for a fourth place finish. Another freshman Joe DaSilva wrestled here and although he did not place, he wrestled very tough as he always does.
135 lbs. – Freshman Luigi Miranda wrestled tough and took fifth place.
140 lbs. – Sophomore Joe Massaro was the surprise of the tournament. Joe took over the 140 lbs. spot after early season injuries to seniors Billy Gerstner and Tyler Cashin. He did a great job throughout the year as he worked very hard to improve and fill that position. He came into the tournament unseeded and with no expectations. What Joe did was defeat the third seed, then pin his next opponent, and then beat second seeded Rich Alfaro from Carle Place 9-4. That put Joe in the county finals. (Alfaro had defeated Joe 14-4 in early January). Joe then lost a hard fought match to Gabe Hogan of Wheatley (Gabe is coached by former Mineola All-County wrestler Joe Cerulli) to finish second and earn All-County honors. With those three wins, Joe scored some very unexpected points to help the Mustangs to victory.
145 lbs – Mineola had 2 place winners in this weight class. Junior co-captain Steve O’Connor took 2nd as he lost a very hard fought and exciting match in the finals to returning county champ Sam Patterson by a score of 13 – 8. Senior Tyler Cashin has been out due to a knee injury for 6 weeks prior to this tournament. Tyler could have very easily said “my season is over”, but he did not give up due to an injury as some people do. He did everything he could to get back and help the team. He only had one week to get ready and he still managed to take 3rd place and earn All County honors for the 2nd straight year. Senior Billy Gerstner (All County in 2009) badly dislocated his elbow and he was not able to make it back this season. The team sorely missing him not only for his wrestling but also for his lively personality. We are happy that he will be back for the lacrosse season.
152 lbs. – Freshman Kevin Merino took fifth place.
160 lbs. – Mineola also placed two wrestlers at this weight class as junior Chris Euell wrestled well and took fourth place, while sophomore Dave Gorry also did a fine job, taking fifth place. Junior first year wrestler Pat Clark also competed here. He did not place but wrestled well.
171 lbs. – Mineola again placed two wrestlers at this weight class only this time they finished in the top two. Senior co-captain Arnold Gomez had a great year, finishing with a record of 22-2. He won the Hank Paris Tournament, which Mineola also won as a team, and the Ralph Jansen Tournament in December. He finally won his first county championship (he took second last year) by defeating teammate and friend Mike Escobar by a score of 6-2 in the finals. Arnold had pinned all his early round opponents in less than a minute. Senior co-captain Mike Escobar made it to the finals by pinning Tom Beague in the semis. Tom had defeated Mike by a score of 12-8 early in the year thus making this victory extra sweet. It is a very difficult thing when two teammates have to wrestler each other to decide a championship. The boys handled it well and the friendship remains. Mike and Arnold where also co-captains of the varsity football team. Tyler Cashin and Steve O’Connor also had to wrestle each other as did Nick Fabiano and Joe Barcos, but as with Mike and Arnold, all is well.
215 lbs. – Senior Dan Granados was Mineola’s second champion of the night. Danny had a tough road to the championship as he was bumped a weight class from 189 lbs. to 215 lbs. The coaches felt that Danny would not have been able to win or maybe even make the finals at 189 lbs. They did feel his chances were much better at the heavyweight even though Danny might be considerably lighter then some of his opponents and Dan agreed. He worked his way right through the tournament by pinning the second and third seeds and then beating the first seed in the finals 16-6 to become the county champ. Sophomore and first year wrestler Bruno Ferreira also wrestled very well and took fith place.
The Mustangs wrestling season was a total team effort. From a number of ninth grade wrestlers placing in the top four, Massaro’s unexpected appearance in the finals, Cashin coming back from an injury, Granados bumping up a weight and winning, putting seven boys in the finals, every young man fought through each match. If any one of Mineola’s wrestlers that placed first through third did not place, Oyster Bay would have won the tournament.
The year did not end for Arnold and Danny; they headed up to Albany to compete in the state tournament.