Talk about a single-mindedness of purpose.
The awards ceremony for the Section XI Dr. L. Robert “Doc” Fallot Memorial Championships had just started and some of the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold high school wrestlers were already talking about what was next: the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships later this month.
Not that the Tuckers didn’t enjoy their fifth straight Suffolk County Division II championship and the crowing of eight individual county champions Sunday night at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, because they did. At the same time, though, they couldn’t help but think ahead.
Asked about Mattituck producing eight county champions who will move on to the state tournament Feb. 24 and 25 at Times Union Center in Albany, one of those champions, senior Tanner Zagarino said, “That’s putting us in the driver’s seat to go upstate, and let’s win that tournament, too.”
Zagarino (220 pounds), a three-time county champion, will be joined in Albany by seven teammates: four-time county champions Jack Bokina (126) and James Hoeg (195), two-time county champ Luke Bokina (120), T.J. Beebe (138), Carmine Vergari (145), Thomas Hoeg (152) and Jake Skrezec (160).
“The season’s not over yet,” James Hoeg said. “I’m still looking forward to the state tournament.”
* Shouldering the load
When Tanner Zagarino took the mat for the 220-pound final Sunday night, he had to contend with a banged up shoulder and the hulking figure of Mount Sinai’s John Parente.
Was it a cause for concern?
Apparently not. Zagarino, wearing a brace on his right shoulder, was in thorough control of the match, defeating Parente, 8-2.
When asked afterward about the shoulder, Zagarino said: “It’s nothing. It’s not going to stop me from winning the state title.”
* A special team
The question was asked time and time again in the aftermath of Mattituck’s triumph Sunday night: What makes this team so special?
“I think it’s a combination of the kids doing a great job, working super hard, the parents being super committed all these years,” coach Cory Dolson said. “It’s a great community of people that we have. It’s really a group effort.”
Photo caption: Jake Skrezec, whose arm is raised following his 9-6 victory over Bayport-Blue Point’s Dylan McCarthy in the 160-pound final, is one of eight Mattituck/Greenport/Southold wrestlers headed to the state tournament. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)