SOMERS, N.Y.— Somers’ varsity wrestling team made some strides in the right direction last season under coach Ron DiSanto.

DiSanto returns for his second campaign with some key grapplers returning and the Tuskers are setting the bar high.

“The team’s number one goal is to peak during the postseason and qualify the majority of our lineup to sectionals, as we are going for a top 10 finish,” DiSanto said. “Along the way our goals are for place higher than last year at every tournament.  That includes, winning the Woodlands Duals, placing top three at the Somers Tournament, top three at the Yorktown Duals and top 10 at counties. We have a new league, which is balanced and competitive and we believe we are contenders.”

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Seniors Graham Roediger and Billy DiBenedetto both placed sixth at sectionals last season, while recording 24-13 and 31-14 records, respectively. They’ll look to improve on those finishes this year with Roediger wrestling at 138 pounds and DiBenedetto at 132 pounds.

DiSanto thinks the duo can place higher this season at sectionals and be in the running for section titles.

“Graham is a three-sport athlete, so he has always brought a competitive spirit to the team,” DiSanto said. “Since he’s coming off a state championship in soccer, he has a lot of confidence right now. I think he has improved as a leader and is spreading his positive attitude to the team.  Billy has dedicated himself to the sport of wrestling by doing it year-round.  Over the summer, he went to J Robinson’s 28 Day Intensive Wrestling Camp.  He really thrived there.  He sharpened his technique since last season and he sets a great example by pushing himself to get better every practice.”

Junior Antonio Vieira (182 pounds, 16-7), junior Sean Freebern (285 pounds) and freshman Matt Kelly (152 pounds) are key returnees.

“Graham, Billy, Antonio, Matt and Sean were all sectional qualifiers last season,” DiSanto said. “They’ll be our core this year and forces in the section.”

Other returning wrestlers with varsity experience who will be counted on to provide depth and balance to the lineup are freshman Matt Russo (99 pounds), sophomore Ryan Savino (106), junior Eric Giancaspro (126), junior John Henry Genualdo (126), senior Brian Walter (145), junior Nick Fiore (152), junior Nick Davison (160), junior Peter Bentivegna (170), senior Messiah Horne (170) and senior Javaughn Clarke (195).

The following wrestlers will compete for spots on the varsity or wrestle on the junior varsity: sophomore Jon Barakat (113), sophomore Sean Considine (113), junior Tristan Manzano (120), freshman Zach Lupinacci (132), sophomore Nick Testerman (138), junior Brendan Loughlin (145), sophomore Jason Weiss (145), freshman Bruno Imhof (145), junior Eric Tunas (160), freshman Tom Gall (160), junior Jimmy Hogan (182), junior Anderson Fiorella (195), junior Cristian Mejia (195) and sophomore Matt Soden (195).

DiSanto believes the team will have a tough, balanced lineup when it comes to dual meets.

“Our lightweights are young and enthusiastic and don’t have that much experience on varsity, but I expect them to be competitive,” he said. “Our middleweights are all upperclassmen with experience, so that’s probably our strength.  Most of our heavyweights are either still in football season or injured right now, so it’s hard to predict that part of our lineup. However, when those guys get back, they will help make the team better.”

DiSanto said the team had open mats in the spring, summer and fall so the grapplers could work on their technique.

“Some kids also chose to wrestle at clubs, go to camps, stay active in other sports and lift weights,” DiSanto said.

The Tuskers open the season when they host their own tournament at Somers Middle School on Dec. 3. It will be a six-team tournament with Mahopac, Yorktown, Iona Prep, Port Chester and Section 11’s Hauppage attending.

Somers will host the first two rounds of the Section 1 Dual Meet tournament on Dec. 7. The Tuskers are the No. 16 seed and will face No. 15 Yorktown in the first round.

“We should be evenly matched, so we are looking forward to starting our dual meet season with an exciting and competitive match,” the coach said.