January 11, 2017 at 11:12 AM
SCARSDALE, N.Y.— It is never easy to bounce back from a blowout loss, but that’s just what Mahopac’s wrestling team did quite handily.
Its squad claimed first place in the Scarsdale tournament with 158 team points on Jan. 7, following a 62-12 drubbing to powerhouse Arlington at home on Jan. 4. The Indians topped 14 other schools and edged second-place Pawling by five points.
“We got beat up by Arlington and we’re sick of getting beat,” senior Mike Muldoon said. “So we went into this tournament with a stronger mindset, ready to go.”
Twelve of Mahopac’s 16 wrestlers placed within the top six of their respective weight classes. Muldoon and Joe Harney earned first-place crowns.
“It was a total team effort,” Mahopac coach Dennis DiSanto said. “A lot of my wrestlers are only in their second year and are showing a lot of improvement with every match.”
Muldoon defeated Lakeland/Panas’ senior Brandon DiDomenico, 9-1 in the 113-pound finals. He pinned Eastchester’s Aaron Asiedu-Wiafe in the quarterfinals before dominating Akif Ahmad of Nanuet 13-4 in the semis.
“It feels really good to come away from that tournament with a big win and set an example for the younger guys,” Muldoon said. “If you work hard and have the right mindset, you can win big matches.”
In only his second year of wrestling, the sophomore Harney notched an upset of his own in the finals. He knocked off top-seeded James Bellucci of Pawling by a 1-0 decision in the 220-pound final.
Junior Anthony Ocello placed second at 138 pounds as 182-pounder Jack McDonald finished third. Ocello racked up two pins before being pinned by Jack Wrobel of Pawling in the championship.
“It’s about going hard every day and giving it all you got in practice,” Ocello said. “Come to work and be prepared. This sport is all mental. We just have to put our heads down and grind.”
Junior Tom Mahoney (170) took fourth-place while Mike Nathanson (220) and Frankie Scauzillo (99) each scored fifth.
Christian Brito (152), Charlie Nicosia (145), Tyler Roa (132), Nicholas Saeta (182) and Andi Berisha (113) all took sixth-place finishes. Brito worked to tally three pins in the effort.
Senior Garrett Semenetz was bothered by an injured shoulder and missed out on the tourney.
The Indians’ home showing against Arlington a few days prior was not as exciting, but there were plenty of close contests.
“We lost a lot of close matches that could have gone either way,” DiSanto said. “They are a tough team. We have an inexperienced team for the most part, and wrestling is just experience. As they get more experience and grow older, they will get better.”
Muldoon, who placed third in the section last year, has high expectations for himself and the team.
“My goal is to walk away with a state title,” Muldoon said. “Our goals as a team are to qualify a full lineup for the sectional tournament and have a lot of guys place.”