TUCKERS 54, BAYMEN 24
Just because Mattituck/Greenport has a lot of young wrestlers doesn’t mean they are new to wrestling. Some, however, are new to wrestling at the high school varsity level, and that is an adjustment.
It is an adjustment that so far seems to be going well for the Tuckers, though. After losing the first two bouts on Friday night, Mattituck/Greenport won the next nine and cruised to a 54-24 Suffolk County League VII win over Hampton Bays, no small thanks to a number of young wrestlers.
Mattituck/Greenport raised its record to 6-2, 2-0. Hampton Bays dropped to 0-5, 0-2.
Having lost seven starters from last season, Mattituck/Greenport was bound to undergo significant change this season. The the bulk of the team consists of underclassmen. Of the team’s three seniors, Richie Koch is the only one with any previous varsity experience. Among the 38 team members are six junior high school wrestlers. Two of them, seventh-grader James Hoeg and eighth-grader Lucas Webb, were not only in the lineup on Friday night, but won on pins.
“There are ninth- and 10th-graders all over that lineup,” Mattituck/Greenport coach Cory Dolson said. “I like the way they’re handling the situation. They’re practicing hard, they’re working hard, they’re battling everybody.”
The Tuckers appeared pumped up for the their home opener against Hampton Bays at Mattituck High School. After the Baymen took the first two contests through wins by Kevin Gearon (10-4 over Jacob Thorpe at 220 pounds) and Oliver Mendez (a pin of Adam Goode 3 minutes 29 seconds into their 285-pound match), Mattituck/Greenport went to work. The Tuckers proceeded to record seven pins.
Lucas Webb pinned his 99-pound opponent, Brian Caal, at 1:18. It was the sixth pin of the season and ninth win in 11 bouts for Lucas Webb.
Hoeg (106 pounds) then put the Tuckers ahead to stay with his pin of Jim Fernandez at 3:42.
Tyler Webb, a freshman, was involved in the shortest bout of the evening. He needed only 53 seconds to pin Sean Bowen at 113.
Other young Tuckers made good showings as well. Three sophomores — Ryan Bergen (120), Brian Pelan (126) and Andre Vega (138) — posted positive results. Bergen scored a 15-4 decision over Anthony Mora, Pelan pinned Victor Alimo at 1:38, and Vega pinned Gustavo Gonzalez at 4:42.
Rodolfo Perez (132) and Koch (145) added to Mattituck/Greenport’s pin parade, Perez stopping Nat Prichuska at 1:32 and Koch pinning Aaron Perkins at 1:54.
Frank Zagarino didn’t record a pin, but he did the next best thing, beating Hampton Bays’ entrant at 152 pounds, Rob Loveit, by technical fall at 5:15.
Mattituck/Greenport fans got the opportunity to watch the team’s big-name standout, Tomasz Filipkowski, and he didn’t disappoint the home crowd. Filipkowski, wrestling up a class at 170, brought his season record to 14-1 with a 15-8 defeat of Cody Nolan.
The bouts at 160 and 182 pounds went Hampton Bays’ way through Anthony Romenaly and Andrew Morris, respectively. Romenaly, who trailed by 5-0 after the first period, recovered to pin Sal Loverde at 4:37. Morris was a 9-6 winner over Chris Baglivi.
Overall, though, it was a good night for the Tuckers, and Hoeg didn’t sound surprised. “We came in thinking we were going to win, and we did,” he said.
Tyler Webb said, “I learned that we have skills that we didn’t know about, and we showed them tonight.”
Young teams often struggle, but Mattituck/Greenport doesn’t appear to be struggling, at least not yet. But Dolson knows the season is still young, and the Tuckers have a lot of work ahead of them.
“It’s very challenging,” he said of coaching young wrestlers. “You know they’re going to make mistakes and they don’t have a lot of experience. It’s growing pains. You know they’re going to lose matches. … It comes with the territory. The more mat time they get, the better they’re going to get.”
Dolson said his young wrestlers are the product of Mattituck’s kid wrestling program, and their development bodes well for the future.
“The sky’s the limit for a lot of these guys,” he said. “You just know they’re going to be around here for three, four, five years some of them. It’s just nice to see what’s coming in the future.