TUCKERS 87, BEARS 0
The finish to the Mattituck/Greenport high school wrestling team’s Suffolk County League VII season was anticlimactic, to be sure, but that didn’t detract from the magnitude of the achievement. After all, an undefeated league season is an undefeated league season. That’s not too shabby.
Heavily favored Mattituck/Greenport capped an unbeaten league season for the second year in a row Friday, shutting out The Stony Brook School, 87-0, at Mattituck High School. The Tuckers (19-3, 8-0) had clinched at least a share of first place two nights earlier with a triumph in Port Jefferson that brought them their second straight league championship and fifth overall. Prior to last season, the Tuckers had won league crowns in 1984, 1995 and 2003.
“It’s great man,” Mattituck/Greenport coach Cory Dolson said. “Two years undefeated, I don’t care what league you’re in, that’s something be proud of and, again, it’s a testament to the guys’ hard work.”
It may now seem like ages ago, but the Tuckers had experienced lean times in the not-too-distant past. Dolson remembers a spell during which they won only one league match over the course of two seasons.
“This isn’t just something that happened overnight,” he said. “… It’s been years and years in the making. There’s a lot of people behind the scenes, they don’t get a lot of credit, but realistically, you know, a lot of hard work and time and effort has gone into it a long time, a lot of years to get to where we are today.”
The benefits of a kid wrestling program and a junior high school program have been seen. A turning point may have been two years ago when the Tuckers, searching for what would have been their first county team title, had to settle for second place. That apparently didn’t sit well with the Tuckers.
“That totally just got us mad and wanting to push ourselves to be number one, and here we are,” said junior Tyler Webb.
The Tuckers claimed their first county crown last year.
Stony Brook’s veteran coach, Mark Maningo, has admired what he has seen from the Tuckers.
“It’s that point in Cory’s career right now,” Maningo said. “He’s been here long enough to basically realize the fruits of his labor. That kid program is kicking in, the junior high program, the feeder program. It’s all yielding results right now. It’s more than a sleeping giant out here.”
Friday’s match was a pinfest for the Tuckers, who because of forfeits were leading by 18-0 before the first bout was wrestled. The Tuckers won nine of the 10 bouts that were contested on pins.
The match progressed swiftly as first-period pins were produced by Thomas Hoeg (106 pounds), Tyler Webb (120), Lucas Webb (132), Joe Bartolotto (138), Tanner Zagarino (160), Christian Angelson (170) and Adam Goode (195). Hoeg’s pin of Tiger Wong came in only 21 seconds. Hacay Hou lasted only 27 seconds against Goode.
Ryan Bergen (152) and Joe Peroni (182) had to wait until the second period of their matches to record pins.
The only bout that wasn’t decided by a pin or forfeit may have been the most eagerly awaited one of the day. T. J. Beebe, facing a former Suffolk Division II runner-up, Ayan Mandal, produced a 7-2 victory at 113 pounds.
Stony Brook (1-7, 1-7), which sent six first-year wrestlers to the mat, forfeit five weight classes.
Brothers Tyler and Lucas Webb recorded pins in successive bouts. Tyler Webb stopped Justin Moreno in 53 seconds, and Lucas Webb pinned Dan Bennett at 1:33.
Tyler Webb missed six weeks of the season with a broken thumb that he recently recovered from. He has wrestled in only a little more than a half-dozen matches this season. Meanwhile, Lucas Webb, a sophomore, has a 23-11 record.
“Lucas is just very, very steady for us,” Dolson said. “He’s a 10th-grader, but he’s definitely one of our leaders, and he’s like a constant.”
The pins kept coming: Bartolotto downed Chinaka Ihekweazu in 40 seconds; Bergen’s pin of Kevin Palmer came at 3:23; Zagarino needed only 36 seconds for his win over Inayo Ma; Angelson didn’t need much longer than that, only 43 seconds, to stop Thomas Hull; Peroni ended his match against David Jensen at 2:28.
Whatever the day lacked in drama was more than made up for, on the Tuckers’ part, by the satisfaction of knowing they have won the first back-to-back league titles in team history.
“The wrestling team is like my second family, and it’s awesome,” said Lucas Webb.
Next up for the Tuckers will be the Section XI Division II Tournament on Feb. 15. Dolson said he has some scrimmages scheduled to keep the Tuckers sharp until then. In the meantime, they can bask in the glow of another title.
“Cory deserves, and the Mattituck guys deserve, everything they’re getting out here,” Maningo said. “Not only do they deserve it, they’ve earned it.”