Months of preparation, training and wrestling could come down to a few precious moments on the mat for the Mattituck/Greenport high school wrestling team at Stony Brook University this weekend.
Do the right things and make the correct moves and several wrestlers could position themselves for a Suffolk County title. Make one wrong move early on, and it could be a short day for the Tuckers.
Coach Cory Dolson is optimistic he has positioned his team for success after an 11-8 overall record and a 5-3 mark and fourth-place finish in League VII.
“We were sliding in the wrong direction the last couple of weeks,” he said. “We’re clearly through the mountain. Hopefully, the results show. It’s a tough grind through the wrestling season. I think the guys are in a good place right now. We’re moving in the right direction this week.”
Dolson realized so much can happen at such a high-profile tournament, which will qualify wrestlers for the state championships in Albany on Feb. 24 and 25.
“Anything can happen,” he said. “It depends on who’s ready to wrestle. The No. 1 seed loses in the first round, it could change everything.”
Still, he is hopeful that a number of Tuckers can break through and finish atop their respective weight classes:
o Junior Tomasz Filipkowski, who is the returning Division II champion and top seed at 170 pounds. Filipkowski will bring a 29-2 record into the competition.
“The expectation of him is to defend the championship,” Dolson said. “His challenge is getting a place in the state tournament. He won a match [last year in the state tournament]. He’s got to get to the next level.”
o Sophomore Brian Pelan registered a 23-8 regular-season mark at 120 pounds. Pelan is one of the team leaders, Dolson said.
“He’s wrestled a lot of good competition all year long,” he said. “He’s looking to put together a good tournament.”
o Junior Chris Baglivi, who is 23-9 at 195 pounds. He is seeded No. 2.
“He’ll have a couple of tough matches,” Dolson said.
In preparation for the tournament, Mattituck/Greenport recorded a 61-15 win over The Stony Brook School on Friday in Mattituck. The Tuckers did not participate in a league tournament last weekend because it will one of nine teams that will wrestle in the small school division this weekend and did not need to qualify.
Dolson noted that Stony Brook had a number of forfeits and won four matches. “To be honest with you, a lot of our better guys didn’t get matches,” he said.
But several seniors did record victories on Senior Day — Andrew Hudson (120 pounds), Rich Koch (145), Frank Zagarino (152) and Jacob Thorp (220).
“It was their last home match,” Dolson said. “They got to wrestle. It was nice.”
For Dolson, it will be a lot nicer if the Tuckers get a few county champions this weekend.