MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Somers coach Ron DiSanto thinks his team is beginning to peak and what better time with the postseason starting up this weekend?
The Tuskers competed in the sixth annual Peter Caruso Memorial Wrestling Tournament at Mahopac on Jan. 28 and saw four of their wrestlers place.
Billy DiBenedetto (126 pounds) and Matt Kelly (152 pounds) each took second for the Tuskers, while Sean Freebern (fourth, 220) and Graham Roediger (sixth, 138) also placed.
“All four of our placers showed that they’ve improved throughout the season and are beginning to peak,” DiSanto noted. “They’re all having very good seasons, but each have minor flaws that they’re working on. Those improvements are key as we get into the postseason, when every move in a match has an impact on the outcome of the season. Billy is getting better at finishing his takedowns, Graham is expanding his technique from the bottom position, Matt is getting confident riding legs from the top position and Sean dominated an opponent that he lost to earlier in the season.”
DiBenedetto, the second seed, recorded a tight 10-8 win over Carmel’s Jaydon Boscia in the quarterfinals. He then pinned Middletown’s Ishmael Alicea in 2:58 in the semifinals before falling to Putnam Valley’s Satoshi Abe 13-8 in the 126-pound final.
Kelly, who was also the second seed, recorded a pin in the quarters before cruising past Middletown’s Zakair Artis with an 18-4 victory in the semis. He fell in a tight 10-7 match in the finals to Stepinac’s Erik Bubb.
Brian Walter (145), Nick Fiore (145) and Peter Bentivegna (160) also competed at the tourney with each picking up at least one win.
“Walter went 2-2 and wrestled with so much heart,” DiSanto said. “I named him an honorary captain for the rest of the season, because he sets a great example of giving his best effort and getting the most out of his ability.”
Somers also sent a few wrestlers to JV sectionals last weekend with sophomore Jon Barakat placing third and freshman Matt Russo taking sixth. DiSanto said he’s looking forward to those grapplers and other underclassmen developing the core of the team in the future.
DiSanto said that wrestling with heart and confidence will be critical for the team as they enter the postseason. The Tuskers travel to John Jay-Cross River for divisionals on Saturday, Feb. 4. It will be a difficult divisional with host John Jay-CR, Fox Lane, Mahopac, Scarsdale, White Plains, Clarkstown South, Beacon and Carmel in attendance.
“Each individual needs to put the past behind them and keep a confident mindset moving forward,” DiSanto said. “We cannot be complacent on where we were in the past. We need to rise to the occasion and get after the opponents that are ranked and seeded higher. I feel we have a few dark horses that can pull some upsets, but we need to have the belief that it’s possible. The goal is to place in the top four to qualify for sectionals, and since it’s double elimination, there is still a chance to qualify after one loss. We need to have the ability to be resilient and bounce back after a possible loss.”