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Wildcats Sports


Posted Thursday, February 14, 2008 by Ken Richards


The 2008 Nassau County Youth Wrestling Championships were held this past Sunday, February 10th at Clarke High School. The Nassau Wildcat Wrestling Club was well represented at this highly competitive, prestigious event. The Wildcats entered 15 wrestlers and 9 of them returned home as "All-County" athletes for their age groups.

Last year, in only our 2nd year as a team, we won 9 matches at the 2007 tournament, while losing 28 (a .243 winning percentage). We had 3 "All-County" wrestlers. This season (our 3rd), we recorded a much improved 16-23 mark (.410), with 9 grapplers attaining All-County status. The coaches are really excited about this improvement.

Although we did not have any individual Champions, we did have three wrestlers who were County Finalists. 2nd grader, Nicholas Matteo raised his record to 9-5 on the season in making it to the Championship round. Nick was one move away from the crown. We're sure he'll get it next year. Dillon Hanel (6th grade) improved to 6-4 this year also making the County finals. Sean Richards (18-2 this year) came back from a 4-0 deficit in the semi-finals to reverse and nearly pin his opponent en route to a thrilling 7-4 victory to put him in the Finals. Unfortunately, Sean (6th grade) sustained a season-ending injury (broken finger/sprained wrist) in the Championship round and was forced to default mid-match.

Matt DeBenedittis (7th grade) had perhaps the toughest bracket of the day in the grueling Schoolboy (7th/8th grade) division. Matt went 3-1 on the day and took home 3rd place. His only loss came against the #1 seed and eventual champion from MacArthur. Matt hung tough, reversing his opponent to close the gap to 4-2 after two periods. Matt just couldn't pull off the upset, but the coaches (other teams' coaches too!!!) took note of his outstanding work on the mat.

Max Mosca (3rd grader, 7-5 record) won his first two matches en route to a 4th place County finish. 7th grader, Nick Loiacono placed 4th in his Schoolboy division.

Michael Loiacono bounced back from an early defeat to claim 5th place. Charlie Forero (6th grade) had to go to overtime to pull out an exciting come-from-behind win to even get into the medal round competition, as his weight class had so many entrants. Charlie was down in the match, and then placed his opponent on his back to take a short-lived lead. The match went to overtime and Charlie executed a beautiful headlock for the win. Charlie pinned his final opponent to claim 5th place in the County. Shawn Mosca also had plenty to be proud of as he took home 6th place, after dropping a hotly contested bout.

Dean Manfredi, Danny Marini, Christian Marini, Nick Reda, Vinnie Ali and Mike Marini all wrestled hard against very tough opponents and got great experience for the future wrestling careers.

Coaches and parents were very pleased with the improvement the kids have shown since last year. Keep working guys!!!

The McCleary boys, Stephen and Michael, entered the Nassau County Novice tournament. Both looked good and Stephen took home a 3rd place in his weight class.

Also, a speedy recovery to Mark Perrone and Bryan Dennis. Mark and Bryan also sustained injuries while training for the County Championships and could not participate. They will return!!!

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