In a stunning and decisive 50 to 24 victory over Conference #1 seed Glen Cove, Port's varsity wrestlers successfully concluded their 10 and 9 season by winning the Nassau County Conference IV Dual Meet Title. Under the direction of Coach (and former Viking grappler) Anthony Schettino and with the guidance of JV Coach (and former Viking grappler) Derek Novinski, the Viking varsity collected their victory at W.T. Clarke High School in Westbury on Saturday, Feb. 2.
Team Tri-Captain senior Tom Murray (160 lbs.), juniors Chris Kitley (125), Fernando Navarro (130) and John Pakel (171), along with freshman Anthony Platt (135) each contributed six team points to the victory by 'sticking" (pinning) their opponents. Team Tri-Captain senior Scott Schnipper (140) and junior Matt D'Elia (112) contributed four team points each with "major decisions" of 10 to 0 and 17 to 6. Freshman Greg Rosengarten (145) and junior Roberto Perez (152) accepted six points each when Glen Cove forfeited their matchups. Junior Ned Bechtold (119) and senior Terry Bowman (215) fell to perhaps two of Glen Cove's toughest competitors.
Tri-Captain junior Fernando Navarro's pin took an incredible 14 seconds, while Chris Kitley, Anthony Platt and John Pakel faced more durable and tenacious adversaries, squeezing out pins in hotly contested see-sawing matches. Tom Murray and his opponent finished regulation in a stingy 3-3 tie, when Murray surprised his determined opponent with a lateral drop and a stunning pin in overtime.
The team qualified for the Conference Finals by first defeating Hempstead 30 to 12. The team then defeated Westbury 45 to 26 in the Conference quarter finals. Kitley, Platt, Schnipper, Murray and Pakel each pinned their Westbury opponents, and Perez bumped up a weight class and decisioned his opponent to win that meet. Then, in a hotly-contested confrontation with a perennial rival, Port avenged an early season loss to #2 seed Manhasset with a sweet semi-finals victory, 42 to 30. Port reversed its fortunes against Manhasset when Viking grappler Anthony Platt pinned the wrestler who had pinned him in their previous encounter, and Scott Schnipper and Roberto Perez exchanging weight classes, each defeated the wrestler who had previously defeated them. Kitley, Navarro and Chris Hovilleur also pinned their opponents, and Tom Murray decisioned his determined Manhasset challenger. John Pakel cinched the win over Manhasset with a meet-deciding pin, clearly foreshadowing his finals performance against Glen Cove and continuing his late-season surge of victories.
Wrestlers Horvilleur, Pablo Lezcano, Anthony Scordio, Carlos Rivas, Rob Tartaro and Manuel Segovia also suited up for the Conference finals, lest their team should require their services.
Only three of Port's starters are graduating this year. Although their contributions will be sorely missed, we expect that, under the excellent tutelage of Port's outstanding coaches, Port will build on this year's successes with its upcoming bumper crop of grapplers, many of whom, including Anthony Scordio, Lindsay Weinstein and Paul Winters, distinguished themselves in the JV Nassau County finals the prior week by winning their weight classes. Richard Lee, Alex Mott and Emilio Diaz each played second in that event. Congratulations on an excellent season also to Port's starting 152-pounder Rob Tartaro, who sat out the playoffs with an ankle injury, and wrestlers Amos Lee, Yuchi Jikko, Jason Shames, Andrew Blanchard, Vince Zorskas and Alex Mintz.
Weber Middle School has received a large turnout of prospective wrestlers for the coming season and the PYA pee wee program is preparing even more troops for service. We wish new middle school coaches James Enright and Kevin Baudo the best of luck in encouraging and developing new wrestlers for the future of the Port wrestling program.
On Saturday, Feb. 9, the Varsity team had another strong showing at the sec. 8 qualifying tournament. They finished with five All-Conference wrestlers: Fernando Navarro. Scott Schnipper, Roberto Perez, Tom Murray and finalist John Pakel. Congratulations to these gentlemen and to our Viking Wrestling Team.