It turned out to be a tough week for the Mattituck/Greenport wrestling team, splitting two dual meets and going winless at a tournament.
Tuckers coach Cory Dolson, however, walked away encouraged, particularly by the performances of three wrestlers — seventh-grader James Hoeg (106 pounds), sophomore Brian Pelan (126) and junior Tomasz Filipkowski (170).
The Tuckers dropped a 31-28 decision to Bayport-Blue Point last Wednesday before rebounding with a 71-6 victory over Southampton on Friday. The less said the better about the Comsewogue tournament on Saturday as they went 0-4.
“We’ve got a young team,” Dolson said. “You’ve got to wrestle good competition. That’s the only way you’re going to get better. They know what they have do to get better.”
The most dramatic encounter had to be in the Suffolk County League VII match against Bayport, the defending conference champion.
“We had to do a couple of things to make it close,” Dolson said. “We had to bump up a couple of guys to make us stronger.”
Entering the final match at 170, the score was tied at 28-all, but the Tuckers dropped an 8-0 decision.
“We tried to keep it close,” Dolson said. “We lost a couple of close matches. We gave them a scare.”
At Comsewogue on Saturday, the Tuckers struggled, losing four times — to West Islip, 55-21, Island Trees, 46-27, Comsewogue, 45-30, and Riverhead, 45-19.
Dolson called it “definitely the worst day of the season. It definitely was a step up for us. … We lost to good teams, but I think we could have been more competitive than what we were.”
But Dolson certainly had reasons to be optimistic. The Tuckers are 6-2 overall and 2-1 in the league. And then there were the performances of those three aforementioned wrestlers over a four-day span.
In his first year at the varsity level, Hoeg enjoyed a 4-2 week. He dropped a close match to his Bayport counterpart, 3-2, and went 3-1 in Saturday’s tournament.
“As a seventh-grader, he’s really coming into his own,” Dolson said. “At the beginning of the season he struggled to get used to the physical end of varsity wrestling. He’s getting better and better as the season goes. Almost every time he wrestles, he faces bigger kids with more experience.”
Pelan went undefeated for the week — 4-0 — before an injury forced him out of Saturday’s action.
“Brian’s doing a great job,” Dolson said. “He’s a great kid, a hard worker. He’s one of the reasons you go into coaching. He’s getting better and better.”
Filipkowski has lost only twice against 18 victories this season. One came to Comsewogue’s Colin Gironda, who is ranked third among Division I competitors.
“He’s rolling right now,” Dolson said. “He has only two losses on the year. He’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing.”
The Tuckers face yet another busy week as they compete at Babylon on Friday before returning home to host the North Fork Invitational on Saturday. Connetquot, ranked third in the state, East Hampton, Rocky Point, Riverhead, Southampton, North Babylon, Miller Place, Bay Shore and Half Hollow Hills East will compete in that event. It will be Mattituck’s last tournament before the league and county tourneys.
Dolson said, “I’m hoping to peak now before the next few weeks.”