Wrestlers from Port Youth Activities ("PYA") recently enjoyed great success at the Nassau County Wrestling Championships in Clarke High School . PYA had two first-place finishers, one runner-up, three third-place winners and one boy who placed fifth. Each of these boys qualified for the New York State Youth Wrestling Championships that were held this year at Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake, NY.
PYA's State qualifiers were:
1st Tommy Dover 75 Bantam,_1st George Moschos 75+ bantam,_2nd Michael Nahas 40 Midget_3rd, Christian Castillio 112 School Boy_3rd, Lucas Friedman 80 Midget_3rd, Dan Erb (Manhasset) 70 Schoolboy 5th, Tim Castillo 80 Midget
Five of PYA's qualifiers, C. Castillo, T. Castillo, Erb, Friedman and Moschos, competed against the best New York has to offer. Coach Alex Moschos, assisted by Nick Castillo, accompanied the wrestlers and their families to the largest and most competitive state championship since its inception. There were over 700 wrestlers competing for the title of state champion in their respective weight class and age group. With a long and grueling weekend of wrestling ahead of them, the boys weighed in on Friday and prepared to wrestle on Saturday and Sunday.
Coach Moschos summarized the weekend's events: "Every win and every loss was a tough battle for all the wrestlers and they really gave it their all against New York's best. Most important is the how well the boys did on and off the mat. It was just amazing to watch them in action putting to work what we drilled every week. This was one of the most grueling weekends of wrestling I have ever seen and they all really stepped it up. I was so proud of them and the progress they all made over the season. This doesn't go for just the boys at the States but all the boys on the team. Thanks for a great season."
In the end, George Moschos was named All-State by taking 3rd at 90 pound Bantam. Congratulations to George on his accomplishment of being an All-State Wrestler and all the other All-County wrestlers. PYA thanks coach Moschos, Nick Castillo, Robert Erb, and the Friedmans for all their hard work during this special weekend.
PYA's wrestling program has been in operation since 1994. This year under commissioner John Crawley, there were 42 participants each of whom gained knowledge, experience and confidence under the leadership of Art Dover and Alex Moschos. The PYA philosophy is to allow each child to participate, develop their skills and hopefully gain a love and appreciation for the sport that they can take to their middle school or high school teams. As described by Tim O'Leary, one of PYA's coaches and a former Schreiber High School wrestler:
"The PYA Wrestling Club is the best run program I have seen for some time now. It's a great way to prepare the wrestlers for the next level of competition. Coach Dover and the other coaches are top rate and know their way around the mat. This keeps the kids interested in the sport, while attracting new kids to it.
The practices of the PYA wrestling team are run similar to the high school team with just the right amount of fun thrown in for the little ones. This is great because when the wrestlers go to high school, they don't have to change their styles.
Back when I was wrestling, most people's freshman year of high school was their first year of wrestling. Now if you're wrestling in high school, you have a lot of kids who have wrestled since they were 6 years old. To be competitive in high school, you have to have some sort of feeder program."