MAHOPAC, N.Y. – It’s always a bittersweet time of the season for student athletes when the end of their season is near. The third annual Peter Caruso Wrestling tournament at Mahopac High School marks that time.
High school wrestlers from 16 different schools across the state appeared for the event that lasted Saturday morning until evening.
“It’s actually pretty emotional right now because it’s my last time of wrestling at Mahopac High School,” said star senior Mike DiNardo, who won the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler award. “All the years of wrestling here I never thought it would fly by like that.”
DiNardo, who has committed to wrestle at Johnson and Wales University next season, dominated his bracket and finals match. He pinned Arlington’s Tanner Nielsen in the third round in 5:03 while already having a 10-point lead in the finals match. DiNardo won the 195-pound weight class tournament.
Junior Garrett Semenetz was also crowned champion of his respective 106-pound weight class. Semenetz dominated his finals match as well, winning it 7-0 over eighth-grader Aidan Cullen of Greenville.
“Winning a tournament is one of the best feelings you could have, because it’s an individual sport, and you know all the work that you did paid off in the end,” Semenetz said.
Many other Indians had a successful day on the mats as well. Mike Muldoon, a junior, lost in the final seconds of his finals match in the 126-pound weight class to place a solid second place. He dropped a tough 6-4 decision to Putnam Valley’s Noah Kelvas.
Junior Mike Delahanty lost 4-2 in overtime to Norris Gibson of Middletown in the 285-pound weight class match. The back-and-forth battle placed him fourth in the final standings. Delahanty, among others, sees this season as a great life experience.
“This season went amazing for me personally,” Delahanty said. “It was absolutely stunning — I did way better than I did last year. It’s a huge improvement and I look forward to next year.”
Joe Porcelli took fourth at 152 pounds, Alex Rabinowitz placed fifth at 120 pounds, Joe Harney was fifth at 220 pounds and Mike Nathanson placed sixth at 220.
Senior Levi Ruiz, who just joined the wrestling team this year after starting the season with the junior varsity squad, reflects on a great, yet short lived time while wrestling as a Mahopac Indian.
“It’s a completely shocking feeling because it was so much fun doing this and then just to think, ‘This was my last year,’” Ruiz said. “My first varsity tournament, it was so much fun doing it.”
As a team, Arlington High School ended up winning the tournament after racking up 251.5 points followed by Middletown and Washingtonville High Schools who earned second and third place. Mahopac finished in sixth place with 149 total points.
Head coach Dennis DiSanto thinks the tournament provides various benefits.
“It’s a good tournament,” DiSanto said. “It’s growing to be very competitive and we got teams coming from all over New York State as far as Rochester, Albany, Long Island, and the Catskill region.”
Mahopac suffered a controversial 37-36 dual meet loss to rival Carmel on Jan. 28. Delahanty scored a pin to tie the match at 37-37 in the final match and with the tiebreaker of Mahopac winning eight out of 15 matches, it was initially believed the Indians were the winner.
Mahopac’s bench, however, was assessed an unsportsmanlike penalty and the Indians were deducted a point to give Carmel the win.
The Indians started the meet on fire with five straight wins to go up 19-0. Frank Scauzillo (99, 13-2), Semenetz (106, 4-1), Chris Horan (113, 6-3), Ruiz (120, forfeit) and Muldoon (126, 11-6) helped get Mahopac off to the fast start.
DiNardo, Harney and Delahanty all earned pins in the final three matches before the unusual ending occurred.
Eight teams will visit Carmel High School for divisionals Feb. 6 and coming off hosting the tournament, the Indian wrestlers will try to keep the flame lit on their 2015-2016 season.