MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The Mahopac wrestling team enjoyed one of its strongest seasons in recent memory, compiling a 31-5 dual meet record, winning the team’s first league title in five years, and closing the season with eight Indians earning All-Section recognition.
The Indians made the season a memorable one for retiring coach Dennis DiSanto, who will go out as Section 1’s all-time dual meet wins leader. DiSanto, who has coached for 35 years (with Somers and Mahopac) broke the previous mark earlier this season, and will retire with a record 429 wins.
DiSanto, who also earned League A North Coach of the Year honors, said the Indians (who graduate eight starters) should be strong again next year.
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“I think they have a real good foundation,” DiSanto said of next winter’s team. “They’ll have five wrestlers with close to 40 wins returning (Angela Centrone, Aidan Muldoon, Larry Nardecchia, Tyler Roa, Londrim Hasanramaj). All five are very solid, so that’s a real good nucleus, and a lot of kids are returning on varsity who did well this season. I think they’re in good shape, they can have a good season, and still have success.”
Eight Indian wrestlers—Centrone, Roa, Frank Scauzillo, Charlie Nicosia, Muldoon, Andi Berisha, Mike Rivera, and Joe Harney—earned All-Section honors by placing in the top six at the recent Section 1 championships.
Team captains were Roa, Scauzillo, Berisha, and Nicosia, and DiSanto said they kept the team on an even keel.
“We had a very close team,” DiSanto said. “For a large team, we had a lot of guys and a lot of personalities. But there was so much support among them, no drama. That was largely because of our captains. They kept everyone on the same page, having fun, supporting each other. That was the big thing—they all had so much support for each other.”
DiSanto—who will be inducted into the Section 1 Hall of Fame on March 10 at the All-Section dinner—said he couldn’t have had a better time closing out his career.
“It was a great way to finish,” he said. “We had a very exciting season. It started with the 400th win, and then the following week we won the quarterfinals of the Section 1 duals, there was so much excitement and emotion. It became so much fun and positive energy, everything went right. It’s rare to have a season where everything goes your way. it was a great group of kids, and something I’ll always remember. The camaraderie is what I’ll always remember with this group.”
DiSanto said he hasn’t had time to let it sink in that he’ll retire with a Section 1 record.
“I’m always thinking about the next competition, the next match, so it hadn’t really sunk in,” DiSanto said. “Now it’s over… and holy cow that’s a lot of wins. To be sitting on top of the pyramid with the most wins - it’s humbling, and a good feeling. To know I was able to leave my mark on Section 1 wrestling.
“I still think about next season,” he added. “We have some outstanding young wrestlers back, and the competitive juices are still flowing. That’s the difficult part. But I have grandkids now, so priorities change.”
Centrone received a wild card invitation to the state tournament, and will compete in Albany at the Times-Union Center on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23, as the No. 7 seed at 99 pounds.