For Justin Lake, the payoff of a grueling high school wrestling match comes at the end, usually. That is when Lake’s right arm is raised by the referee, signifying he had won.
That’s the feeling Lake thrives on. “The feeling of getting your hand raised is incomparable to anything else,” said the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold junior.
If Lake’s arm is raised at the Section XI Championships next month at Suffolk County Community College, so much the better.
Last year Lake finished fourth in Suffolk Division II at 113 pounds. This year he is wrestling at 126 and hoping for better things. By his senior year, he said, he wants to be a county champion.
Judging by his progress, Lake just may get there. Coach Cory Dolson said Lake has a way of maximizing his potential.
“He does everything you tell him to, works hard, is quiet, just goes about his business the right way,” Dolson said. “He really is a coach’s dream and he gets every ounce of result out of his skill set.”
Lake’s approach is to give it all he has.
“I feel like I just go out there and no matter how hard the kid is, I just try to give it my all and see what I can do,” he said. “I may not be able to win, but I try to keep it close and see if I can snake out a win, if I can.”
Lake believes he has conditioning in his corner. He said, “I feel like I have a strong endurance so I feel like I can outlast my opponent in most matches, which really helps me in the third period and overtime.”
* Double vision, times two
Mattituck has not one, but two sets of twins on its team. While Jack and Luke Bokina may be better known to outsiders, Brian and Sean Feeney have been making their mark as well.
Like the Bokinas, the Feeneys are juniors. The Feeneys are also partners in the wrestling room, facing each other virtually on a daily basis.
“They’re definitely tired of each other, without a doubt,” said Cory Dolson.
The identical twins both weigh around 99 pounds. For a dual meet, one of them will wrestle at 99 while the other bumps up to 106, where the wrestlers are usually more experienced and the competition is tougher.
“We know pretty much everything about each other,” Sean said. He added, “We wrestle pretty much the same, the same moves.”
* Tuckers take fourth at tourney
A busy weekend for the Tuckers began Saturday morning when their bus left Mattituck at 4 a.m. for a long ride upstate where they competed in the Union-Endicott Duals.
The Tuckers won Pool B, defeating BGAH, one of the top Division II teams in the state, 57-12, and Hilton, the defending Division I state champion, 39-34.
“We’re beating a lot of high-quality teams,” said Justin Lake.
That sent Mattituck on to the semifinals Sunday when it lost, 36-27, to Rocky Point. Two of Mattituck’s three dual-meet losses this season have come to the Eagles, one of the top-ranked Division I teams in New York. Mattituck finished fourth in the tournament, losing the third-place match to Wantagh, 40-31.
Photo caption: Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s Justin Lake had Bayport-Blue Point’s Noah Makley in a difficult position during Friday’s match. (Credit: Garret Meade)