Wrestling: Tuckers pin down share of league title

The Mattituck/Greenport/Southold wrestling team isn’t built for dual meets, but that hasn’t stopped the Tuckers from winning a league dual-meet championship.

Mattituck clinched at least a share of the Suffolk County League VIII title with a 46-27 victory over visiting Port Jefferson Wednesday. It’s Mattituck’s first league crown since 2017, when the Tuckers won a fifth straight league championship during the program’s golden era. They have won nine overall.

“I think it means a lot,” said coach Cory Dolson, whose team could take the title outright with a win at Babylon Friday. “We talked about it at the beginning of the year. Any time you have a chance to be a part of a championship team, I think that’s special, right? You’re going to put a number on the wall. It’s going to be your team. You were a part of something special.”

After falling short of first place the last two seasons, this achievement has significance to people like junior Luke Altman.

“That means a lot to us, sir,” Altman said. “We have been working hard for a long time. We’ve been trying to get one of these since my freshman year, and it’s a big deal for us to win this.”

Altman played a key role. After Mattituck (6-2, 3-0) forged a 24-0 lead, Port Jefferson (7-4, 3-1) battled back to tie the score at 24-24 on Anthony Delia’s pin of Carson Cornell 32 seconds into the 120-pound match.

That’s when it was Altman’s turn to step onto the mat. He gave Mattituck the lead for good by scoring a 5-1 decision in his bout against Tyler Rogers at 126 pounds.

“Our big match tonight was Luke Altman, who wrestled one of their better guys at [1]26, and he had a pretty good performance,” Dolson said. “He won over a tough kid, so that was a big win for us. He’s one of those guys that’s starting to become one of our better guys.”

Another wrestler who came through for Mattituck was Ethan Schmidt. Despite wrestling up a class — and with an ailing elbow — the 178-pound senior secured a 6-3 win over Jack Niedeberger at 195.

“That’s a big jump,” Dolson said. “He went out there and wrestled well. That was a big, big match for us.”

Schmidt said: “It wasn’t my best match today, but I still got the job done. I should have pinned the kid, but with a hurt elbow, I think I wrestled fairly well.”

Dolson said Schmidt has had a good season, but is “a little banged up, so that’s not ideal, but I think he’s fighting through some injuries right now and hopefully come county time, he can be a little more healthy because right now he’s not at full strength.”

Mattituck’s strength is in the upper weights. The Tuckers won the eight bouts from 145 pounds and up. Two Mattituck seniors, Colby Suglia and Tyler Marlborough, are ranked No. 1 in Suffolk Division II by Suglia, however, did not get to wrestle Wednesday. He was awarded a forfeit win at 220. Marlborough was a 4-0 victor over Brian Mahoney at 285.

Antonio Jiminez of Mattituck defeated Nick Kim, 12-5. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Cole DiGregorio (145) and Malachi Boisseau (170) delivered pins. DiGregorio pinned Sam Robertson at 1:25 and Boisseau stopped John Wallkam in 17 seconds after a quick takedown.

“Everyone got their job done,” Schmidt said. “We wrestled hard. Port Jeff’s lower weights are tough, but our heavyweights are much better than theirs, so that helped us a lot.”

Mattituck’s winners in the other contested bouts were Dan Puluc (16-4 over Anthony Pipia at 132) and Antonio Jiminez (12-5 over Nick Kim at 160). Jackson Cantelmo (152) and Jack Giovannello (182) took wins by forfeit.

Port Jefferson recorded three straight pins by Alex Rodriguez (106), Liam Rogers (113) and Delia. Rodriguez ended his match with Andy Catalan at 2:47 and Rogers was finished in 39 seconds against Ansley Hanus.

Anthony Evangelista brought the Royals a 10-5 win over Christian Ardiano at 138 and Port Jefferson’s Frank Delia was a forfeit winner at 99.

“I thought we wrestled great,” Altman said. “Dolson always says that we have a job to do and I think that everybody did their job tonight and we walked away with a big win.”

Said Dolson, “This was pretty much the marquee matchup that we circled on the calendar and the guys rose to the occasion today.”