There is an old axiom in sports that says teams play like they practice. The Mattituck/Greenport Tuckers wrestling coach, Cory Dolson, hopes that rings true for his team this season.
“Our kids are battling hard in practice,” Dolson said. “We have no superstars this season, but we’ve got a group of gritty kids [who] scrap and claw.”
The Tuckers (8-12 last season) will be led by seniors Jeff Strider (140 pounds) and Brandon Lake (171), junior Mynor Javier (103), sophomore Tomasz Filipkowski (152) and freshman Brian Pelan (112).
Dolson called Filipkowski a “super athlete.” He said: “Tomasz is the best athlete on the team. He is a natural athlete. It is a big advantage for him and he is only going to get better and better.”
Pelan, who was called up to the varsity team last season as an eighth-grader and acquitted himself well, keeps working hard to get even better.
“Brian works hard all year long,” Dolson said. “He wrestles in the spring and the fall trying to get better. This is another kid that is only going to get better and better.”
Dolson also expects Strider to do good things this season.
The Tuckers will face some stiff competition in the defending Suffolk County Division II champion Bayport-Blue Point Phantoms along with a solid Center Moriches Red Devils team.
The Tuckers will open the season on Saturday at the Bay Shore Dual Meet. Dolson called it a good early-season measuring stick.
To be successful this season, Dolson said, “The kids have to buy into what we are telling them.”
“We can win more matches this season,” he said. But we have to be match ready and we have to fill a few holes. We need some of the kids to step up. We need to embrace the team concept more than ever this season for us to improve.”