Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 by Ken Richards
Wheatley’s wrestling teams are already hard at work, preparing for their upcoming seasons with a vengeance. Official practices for the Varsity and JV teams began on November 17th, and Junior High (7th & 8th grades) practices don’t start until mid-January, but many of our grapplers have been training year round in anticipation of a big season.
The Wildcats will seek to improve on last year’s 3rd place finish at the Nassau County Division II Championships. Leading the charge will be returning senior captains Greg Tanenbaum and Will Forero. Last season, Tanenbaum was crowned Nassau County Champion at 112lbs. and earned the “Most Outstanding Wrestler” award. Forero led all Wildcat grapplers with 28 victories and was a County Finalist at 112lbs. Both Tanenbaum and Forero look to capture Nassau championships this season and become “All-State” athletes.
Other returning County place winners will surely make the Wildcat lineup a formidable one. Seniors Darius Izad (125lbs.) and Justin Casale (145lbs.) return with a purpose as County Finalists. Seniors Dan “The Mayor” Mageau (189lbs.) and George “The Hammer” Braun (160lbs.) will also contend for County crowns after placing 3rd last season. Mike Tavolacci (4th place) and Anthony Marini are among the other seniors expected to make noise. 
The team is also loaded with underclass talent. Junior heavyweight Billy Shea looks to improve on his 2nd place finish. Gabe Hogan (130lbs.) and Mr. Thomas Beague (140lbs.) have both put in extensive time in the off-season in hopes of feeding off last year’s 3rd place finishes. Matt Vecchione (5th at 160lbs.), Mike Affigne (6th at 119lbs.) and Zack Swift round out the list of returning Junior place winners. Sophomores Rob Aybinder, Dan Halpern and Jonathan Reshef will be vital to the team’s success, returning with the Varsity experience they gained last year. Big things are also expected from freshmen grapplers Matt DeBenedittis and Brandon Casale, both of whom come up from the Junior High team and will make an immediate impact at the 96lb. and 103lb. classes, respectively.  
Wildcat coaches, Ken Richards and Joe Cerulli, are extremely excited about this team’s prospects in dual meets and tournaments. The coaches believe the grapplers will contend for the regular season Conference IV championship and should be in the mix for the year end D-II tournament title. Home meets slated will feature match-ups with Carle Place (Youth Day), Manhasset, Holy Trinity, Locust Valley, Roslyn, Roosevelt, and Mineola (Senior Night), along with the Wheatley Invitational Tournament and Wheatley Cup Duals.            
For more info on the upcoming Varsity/JV season and schedule, please contact Coach Richards at ken@NassauWildcats.com or visit the website www.NassauWildcats.com under “Wheatley Varsity.” Booster Club info can be obtained from Chairperson, Ann Mageau, at annie328@optonline.net.
Coaches Yuriy Zacharia and Kevin O’Pasek will again lead our Junior High team, one that comes off a highly successful campaign a season ago, producing a team winning percentage of over 60%.
This year’s squad will be led by returning 8th graders Vinnie Ali, Bryan Dennis, David Fraser, Mike Marini and Kevin Polinsky. 7th graders expected to make an immediate contribution are Charlie Forero, Dillon Hanel and Sean Richards, all of whom earned “All-County” honors at last year’s Nassau County Youth Championships.
For more info the Junior High team, please see Coach Zacharia or Coach O’Pasek.