As the competition ratchets up, the areas of focus become clearer for the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold wrestling team.
“When the competition isn’t great, it’s hard to notice what you need to do better,” said Mattituck coach Cory Dolson.
The Tuckers faced an early season test Saturday in Miller Place at the second annual Carl Korpi Memorial Scramble. Nine teams competed in the single-day tournament, highlighted by a strong hometown team in Miller Place. The Tuckers also faced strong teams like Sachem East, Shoreham-Wading River and Smithtown West.
The results were positive: Mattituck finished third in team scoring, just three points behind Sachem East, and crowned two individual champions and had four runner-ups.
Miller Place totaled 267 points, followed by Sachem East (186) and Mattituck (183). It was the second tournament of the season for Mattituck.
“We had six guys in the finals, which is pretty good,” Dolson said. “A couple things didn’t go our way in the finals, but we ended up with two champs.”
The strength of the team is in the mid to upper weights. And at 160, the Tuckers had teammates squaring off in the finals. Junior Jackson Cantelmo earned the bragging rights by defeating Greenport senior Malachi Boisseau, 8-3.
Cantelmo is off to a 10-0 start is the only Mattituck wrestler who won both of the early season tournaments.
Dolson said he’s been impressed with Cantelmo. As a wrestler who was in the mix for All-County last year, Cantelmo has taken a step forward this year by improving on the mental aspect of the sport.
“The mentality of the sport is so important, and he I think struggled mentally a lot last year,” Dolson said.”I think his mental toughness, the way he goes about wrestling just on a day-to-day basis has done a complete 180.”
Cantelmo will bounce between wrestling at 152 and 160, while Boisseau sticks at 160. Dolson said it’s a challenge to have multiple strong wrestlers all around the same weight, but does create competition in the wrestling room.
“Those guys wrestle each other all the time,” he said. “You throw in another kid Antonio [Jimenez], the three of them are constantly banging heads.”
The competition is good, but in tournaments coaches would always prefer the top wrestlers spread out as possible. In a recent dual meet win against Hampton Bays, Cantelmo won at 152, followed by Boisseau at 160 and Jimenez at 170.
Senior Colby Suglia was the other champion Saturday as he pinned Dylan Blanco of Shoreham-Wading River in the 220-pound finals. That pin came in 4 minutes, 30 seconds.
Suglia, a county champion last year, bounced back from an early loss in the finals Dec. 7 of the North Babylon Holiday Tournament. Dolson said Suglia controlled the match against Blanco and methodically worked his way toward a pin.
Three of Mattituck’s other top wrestlers ran into some tough competition in their finals matches. Senior Cole DiGregorio was pinned in the 145-finals by Travis Grebe of Miller Place. Seniors Ethan Schmidt (182) and Tyler Marlborough (285) both suffered first-period pins in the finals.
Dolson said DiGregorio is the type of wrestler who’s always going to compete as hard as he can. Schmidt, he said, got caught in a bad spot that led to the pin, but the match otherwise would have been much closer. Marlborough faced a strong, athletic kid in the finals, Dolson said.
“The kid was kind of a buzz saw,” he said.
Marlborough has been wrestling at 285, but in reality he weighs around 230, Dolson said. Wrestling up can be an advantage at times because he’s more athletic than a lot of the kids he faces. But other times, he faces a wrestler like Chris Powell of Centereach who weighs about 260 and is athletic.
In the consolation finals, Gabriel Gamboa of Mattituck won 11-3 at 126 for third place. Daniel Puluc placed fourth at 132.
The tournament was the second at Miller Place in memory of Carl Korpi, a former wrestler who died suddenly in 2018 at the age of 28. Korpi remains the program’s all-time leader in wins who went on to wrestle at SUNY/Cortland. He was a three-time league champion at Miller Place. He had gone on to become a teacher working in Philadelphia and was recently married.
Dolson said Korpi’s mother gave a speech at the start of the tournament and talked about organ donation.
“He was a real solid kid,” Dolson said. “A hard worker. Just a great, great kid.”
Photo caption: Ethan Schmidt, left, wrestles Noah Bila of Miller Place in the 182-pound final Saturday. (Credit: Diana M. Fehling)