SECTION XI DIVISION II TOURNAMENT
What could be called the greatest single day in the history of Mattituck/Greenport wrestling brought results that were staggering.
The Tuckers sent 11 wrestlers into the Section XI Division II Tournament finals at Center Moriches High School on Saturday night. Seven of them had their arms raised as champions. Bobby Becker was among them, and was presented with the tournament’s Champion of Champions trophy. Mattituck/Greenport blew out the competition, winning its second county team championship in a row after capturing its first county crown last year.
“There’s not a lot of words,” Mattituck/Greenport coach Cory Dolson replied when asked for his reaction to the evening’s events. He added, “I thought we would do well; I couldn’t imagine we’d do this well.”
The Tuckers entered 26 wrestlers in the tournament, and 19 of them finished in the top four of their weight class. Jack Bokina (99 pounds), Brian Pelan (132), Becker (138), James Hoeg (145), Christian Angelson (170), Sal Loverde (182) and Adam Goode (195) all added county titles to their wrestling résumés.
“That’s just crazy,” said Pelan.
Becker (26-7), a senior who battled illness for about five weeks of the season, picked up his second straight county crown. In what might have been the most exciting bout of the finals, Becker took down Bayport-Blue Point senior Joe Palma (27-7) five seconds into overtime for a 7-5 triumph. After his arm was raised and he was declared the winner, the beaming Becker leapt high into the arms of his waiting teammates.
“The best two nights of my life: today and this time last year,” said Becker.
Becker triumphed in last year’s tournament shortly after his mother, Susan, had been diagnosed with leukemia. Becker said his mother, who was in attendance Saturday, had fully recovered.
“The only reason I won, I feel, is the motivation she gave me,” he said. “She’s such a strong person.”
Dolson said Becker has “gone through a lot this season. He took a lot of matches off because he wasn’t healthy, but the thing about him, when the lights come on, he shows up.”
While clutching the large, heavy Champion of Champions trophy, Becker was asked if he knew where he was going to keep it.
“I have no clue,” he said. “I’m going to have to build a shelf or something.”
For the second year in a row, Loverde faced a teammate in a county final (he lost to Tomasz Filipkowski last year). This time the senior pinned his classmate and training partner, Joe Peroni (15-11), at 2:29.
“It’s awkward because he’s my friend,” said Loverde (30-5).
Bokina (24-8), an eighth-grader, pinned Center Moriches eighth-grader Donald Wood (10-9) at 2:44.
Pelan, a senior, had been a county runner-up the past two years, and knew this was his last chance.
“It’s almost surreal,” he said. “I mean, two years in a row coming in second, this is just the biggest sigh of relief I ever had.”
Pelan (33-2) pinned Smithtown Christian junior Jeremiah Shaw (15-6) at 3:45.
Hoeg (30-7), a freshman, posted a 9-0 decision over Bayport-Blue Point senior Dylan McGovern (25-7). Angelson (27-8), a senior, was a 3-2 winner over Bayport-Blue Point senior Mike Sweeney (21-11). Goode (26-8), a junior, registered an 11-5 defeat of Center Moriches senior William Hamilton (22-6). After his match, Goode pointed toward a section of Mattituck/Greenport fans in the crowd and then fell to his knees, overcome with joy.
All of the county champions extended their seasons, qualifying for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships that will be held Feb. 28 through March 1 at the Times Union Center in Albany.
The Tuckers also received runner-up performances from freshman T. J. Beebe (113), freshman Tanner Zagarino (152) and senior Stephen Ostrowski (285). Babylon junior Dom Mazzella, a defending champion with a 24-3 record, posted a 4-1 win over Beebe (25-13) in their final. Port Jefferson senior Paul Cavanaugh (24-10) was an 11-2 winner in his title bout against Zagarino (24-11). Another Port Jefferson senior, Kyle Fiske (33-2), took a title by topping Ostrowski (16-11), 6-0.
Third-place finishes were turned in by Mattituck/Greenport’s Luke Bokina (99), Tim Pelan (113), Tyler Webb (120), Lucas Webb (126) and Joe Bartolotto (138).
Three Tuckers — Thomas Hoeg (106), Tim Schmidt (145) and Connor Andersen (220) — were fourth.
As has been the case all season for the League VII champions, they had production from throughout their lineup. Their dominance was reflected in the team scoring. The Tuckers totaled 333 1/2 points, which was 133 points more than second-place Port Jefferson. Nine teams competed.
“I can say that confidently in D-II, we work harder than any other team, and it shows,” said Becker.
The Tuckers have the hardware to back that claim up, not to mention plenty of good memories for years to come.
Said Dolson, “These kids are never going to forget this — ever.”