Colby Suglia said that when he first took up wrestling, 100 career wins wasn’t even a thought. “At that point, I could care less,” he said.
It’s funny how things change. The Mattituck/Greenport/Southold senior found himself caring a whole lot Saturday when he joined the Suffolk County Century Club with a first-period pin in his first match in the Wes Dolson Invitational.
“When I won it, I was like, ‘All right,’ ” he said. “And then when it came on the loudspeaker when I got my hand raised, I got chills. It was a great feeling. I’m like, ‘All right, I like this.’ ”
What’s not to like?
A 100th career win in his own Mattituck High School gym. That’s not bad at all.
“I think it’s special,” Mattituck coach Cory Dolson said. “You put yourself in a small echelon of people in the program to reach a hundred wins, and a lot of these wins are decisive.”
Suglia, the tournament’s 220-pound champion last year, was the runner-up in that weight class Saturday, but more importantly, he became the 14th Mattituck wrestler to reach 100 wins, according to longislandwrestling.org.
Suglia went 3-1 on the day, bringing his four-year varsity total to 102 wins and his season record to 30-4. His sole loss Saturday came in the final to Copiague senior Malik Leftenant, ranked second among Division I wrestlers in his class by the Long Island Wrestling Association. Leftenant (28-5) built a 3-0 lead and withstood a challenge by Suglia for a 7-4 victory.
Suglia never led but pulled close enough to make it a one-score match. “Then he got a big takedown,” said Suglia, the top-ranked Division II wrestler on Long Island. “It was one of those positions where it was a 50-50 and he kind of got the better end of it.”
How has Suglia managed to win 100 matches?
In two words: hard work.
“In the [wrestling] room everyone’s pushing each other and we strive for that,” he said. “That’s what we do.”
Like Suglia, fellow Mattituck senior Ethan Schmidt was a Suffolk County champion last year and a finalist in Saturday’s tournament. Also like Suglia, Schmidt faced a tough opponent he had never wrestled before, in this case Longwood senior Tyler Pelech. Pelech (31-3) and Schmidt (25-4) are both ranked second on Long Island in their divisions, but Pelech was in full control of their match at 182 pounds, winning 8-0.
“I went in there knowing the kid was good,” said Schmidt, a runner-up in the tournament for a second straight year. “I wish I could have beat him because that would have helped me in [the] state and county rankings, but what happened happened.”
Dolson said Schmidt “wrestled tough today. He always wrestles tough. He’s a very tough kid, right, so that’s the positive that we take out of today. He’s going six minutes, he’s wrestling hard. He’s battling the whole time.”
Both Tuckers got a kick out of wrestling in a tournament in their own gym.
“It’s definitely an experience,” Suglia said. “I think it’s sad that other schools don’t get to do it. It’s nice because you feel the pressure of the home crowd here, that everyone’s watching. You know that people are watching and it’s going to mean something.”
Connetquot won the team championship with 216 points while Mattituck finished fourth among the 13 teams with 186 1/2. The Tuckers were in second place after the semifinals.
Luke Altman (126 pounds), Malachi Boisseau (160) and Tyler Marlborough (285) took third place for Mattituck. The Tuckers also had fourth-place finishes from Dan Puluc (132), Christian Ardiano (138), Jackson Cantelmo (152) and Diego Giron (195). Mattituck’s Antonio Jiminez (160) was fifth and teammate Tate Klipstein (138) sixth.
This was the 23rd year of the tournament, formerly known as the North Fork Invitational before being renamed last year in honor of Cory Dolson’s late father. The tournament draws a number of strong teams.
“Freeport, Connetquot, Ward Melville, Longwood,” Dolson said. “These are all quality teams. That’s what we do. We want a quality event, right? Now my dad’s name’s on it, we got to make sure it’s a quality event.”
Dolson said is father was his “best friend. He was my wrestling partner. He followed us all over the place, never missed a match. He’d drive five hours to watch us wrestle. He would have spent all day here today and then I would have got in my car and I would have called my dad and we’d talk for 30 minutes about the way we wrestled.”