SECTION XI CHAMPIONSHIPS
After all those years of never having won a Suffolk County team championship, the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold high school wrestling team has the makings of a dynasty.
For the third year in a row, the Tuckers are Suffolk Division II champions.
The Tuckers got the picture they were waiting for Friday night as they jostled for positions and balance on and around the podium in the Center Moriches High School gym. They held up three fingers — one for each county title — as photographers snapped away.
This latest triumph in the L. Robert “Doc” Fallot Section XI Championships was a resounding one. The Tuckers didn’t leave much doubt over which of the seven teams would take the title. After the semifinals, they held a comfortable 80 1/2-point lead over their nearest challengers. Going into the finals, their lead had swelled to 130 1/2 points. When the final tally was counted at the end of the night, they had separated themselves even further from the rest of the field, finishing with 292 points. Second-place Port Jefferson had 143 1/2.
The Tuckers sent eight wrestlers into the finals, more than any other team, and half of them came back with individual county crowns. Another seven Tuckers took third place.
Picking up their second straight county titles were freshman Jack Bokina at 99 pounds, sophomore James Hoeg at 160 and senior Adam Goode at 195. Tanner Zagarino, a sophomore, also made it to the top of the podium in the 170-pound weight class.
Zagarino (30-3), a model of efficiency, also took the tournament’s award for the most pins in the least time, pinning all four of his opponents in 5 minutes 20 seconds. He used 1:31 of that time to stop Hampton Bays senior Tom O’Shea in their final.
Bokina (30-6) was the first Tucker to secure a county crown and a place in the state tournament in Albany Feb. 27 and 28. He exchanged a high-five with coach Cory Dolson after decisioning Center Moriches freshman Donald Wood, 6-0. Wood is 29-5.
Hoeg (30-5) looked in control of his final before pinning Hampton Bays junior Travis Flynn (20-5) at 4:09.
Goode (27-7) also triumphed by a pin, stopping Hampton Bays freshman Jackson Perez in 58 seconds.
Before the finals started, the lights were turned down in the gym and a sense of drama rose. Camera lights flashed. A moment of silence was then observed in memory of Ralph Oswald, the father of the Hampton Bays wrestler by the same name. The elder Oswald, a paramedic, recently died after suffering a heart attack.
After the finalists marched into the gym, spectators rose to their feet for the playing of the national anthem. For whatever reason, it never played. That didn’t deter the fans, who took it upon themselves to sing it.
Then the finals got off to an emotional start. The 152-pound match was bumped up to the first bout of the finals so Oswald could attend his father’s wake later in the night. Oswald, a senior, faced Mattituck/Greenport/Southold junior Tim Schmidt. At one point in the third period, Oswald was in obvious pain and had his right arm checked, but he continued wrestling and held on for a 7-5 triumph that produced a huge roar from the crowd. Tears welled in Oswald’s eyes as his arm was raised by the referee.
Oswald (25-9) was later selected as both the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler, as selected by the coaches, and the champion of champions, as voted on by the tournament champions.
Schmidt’s record is 24-12.
Another Mattituck/Greenport/Southold junior, Lucas Webb, had to wrestle an additional 90 seconds in the 138-pound final, but lost to Southampton senior Chris Osufsen, 9-6, in double overtime. Osufsen brought his record to 32-5, and Webb dropped to 28-10.
Port Jefferson junior Matteo DeVincenzo (37-11) took his third county title, beating Tuckers sophomore T. J. Beebe (23-11) in the 120-pound final.
In the 182-pound title bout, Hampton Bays sophomore Johnny Nolan (22-9) scored a 5-0 win over Tuckers junior Dylan Marlborough (18-12).
The Tuckers received third-place finishes by: Thomas Hoeg (106 pounds), Tim Pelan (126), Tyler Webb (132), Carmine Vergari (145), Charles Zaloom (160), Gage Suglia (170) and Chris Schwamborn (285).