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Wrestling Preview: Winning has become a habit for talented Tuckers

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11/30/2015 9:33 PM |

Mattituck/Greenport lifted the Suffolk County Division II championship plaque for the third year in a row. (Credit: Daniel De Mato, file)

The accolades are impressive. Three straight Suffolk County Division II championships. Three straight undefeated league seasons, six altogether. A string of 23 consecutive team wins in league competition. 

Now here’s the kicker: Mattituck/Greenport has lost only two wrestlers from last season’s starting lineup. That thought should send a shiver through the rest of League VII.

The Tuckers, who went 16-7 last season, are once again stacked, loaded with talent.

“I don’t know if we ever had this many guys with experience winning matches,” said Cory Dolson, who is in his 10th year as the team’s coach.

The Tuckers have three returning county champions in sophomore Jack Bokina (33-8 last season), junior James Hoeg (31-7) and junior Tanner Zagarino (30-5). Bokina, who finished fourth in the state tournament, will wrestle at 113 pounds. Hoeg is slated for 170 or 182 pounds, and Zagarino will handle 182 or 195.

Zagarino and Hoeg both recently competed in a Nassau-Suffolk all-star meet.

“They’re looking really good,” Dolson said. “They’re making a lot of progress.”

T. J. Beebe (126), Lucas Webb (138 or 145), Tim Schmidt (160 or 170) and Dylan Marlborough (160 or 170) were all county runners-up last season. Except for Beebe, a junior, they’re all seniors.

Another senior, Charles Zaloom (182), took third in the county tournament, as did juniors Tom Hoeg (120), Carmine Vergari (145), Gage Suglia (170) and Chris Schwamborn (285).

Two sophomores, Brian Feeney (99) and Luke Bokina (106), were fourth-place finishers in the county tournament.

With 36 wrestlers, the Tuckers are blessed with plenty of depth. “We actually have too many guys from 160 to 185, but it’s a good problem to have,” said Dolson.

The Tuckers have never had a state champion. Louis Troisi was third in 2007, the highest finish in a state tournament by a member of the Tuckers. Jack Bokina came close to matching that last season.

“Ultimately, it’s about sending a guy to the states and placing high,” said Dolson.

“The sky’s the limit, I think,” he said. “We have to come in and work hard every day.”

As for the team’s winning streak, Dolson said it helps the Tuckers keep focused during league matches.

“We don’t overlook anybody,” he said. “We’ve been winning for so long that everybody’s motivated to keep going.”

So, the numbers are in the Tuckers’ favor, seemingly with just about everything else. What is the biggest challenge Dolson faces these days?

“I’ve been coaching a lot of these guys since they were in second and third grade,” he said. “… They’ve heard all the stories, all the speeches. You try to mix things up to keep things interesting.”

Photo Caption: Mattituck/Greenport lifted the Suffolk County Division II championship plaque for the third year in a row. (Credit: Daniel De Mato, file)

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