Ron DiSanto Jr. knows that going up against elite competition will only benefit the Somers Tuskers in the long run and the second-year coach was pleased with how his team performed at their host tournament, the Eric D’Agnese Memorial Wrestling Tournament, on Dec. 5. The Tuskers placed fifth behind some powerhouse teams like Hauppage, North Rockland and Mahopac, which placed first, second and third, respectively.

“The team wrestled a lot of exciting matches and fought hard to take fifth place,” DiSanto Jr. said. “The tournament allowed us to get a lot of matches to start the season against some tough opponents. The more we wrestle the more we improve our instincts, conditioning, and confidence. By wrestling such good competition, the team is realizing what it takes to be successful.”

While the Tuskers didn’t have any grapplers place first or second, they had a number of athletes take third through sixth. Matthew Kelly (third, 138), Will DiBenedetto (fourth, 132), Antonio Vieira (fourth, 170), Messiah Horne (fourth, 182), Max Freebern (fifth, 170), Graham Roediger (fifth, 126), Nick Davison (sixth, 152), Brian Joyce (sixth, 182), Conor Heine (sixth, 160) and Sean Freebern (sixth, 195) all finished in the top six for Somers.

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“It was a balanced team effort,” DiSanto Jr. said. “We didn’t have anyone place in the top two but we had 10 guys place third through sixth. It’s good to see the depth in our lineup improving from last year.”

What also was special for DiSanto Jr. was being able to coach with his father Ron DiSanto Sr., who has been the modified wrestling coach at Somers for the last eight seasons.

“He’s been coaching wrestling in Somers for 30 years now, at all levels, from youth, to modified, to JV and varsity, so he’s seen it all,” DiSanto Jr. said. “He also coached me through my wrestling career. Now, being able to have him by my side coaching is a great learning experience and a lot of fun.”

DiSanto Jr. also coached against his uncle Dennis DiSanto, who is the former Somers coach and current Mahopac coach.

The Tuskers hosted the opening round of the Section 1 Dual Meet Tournament on Dec. 2.

Somers fell to Roy C. Ketcham 47-27 in their first match. Vieira (170, pin, 2:00), Sean Freebern (195, pin, 3:07), Roediger (126, pin, 3:41), DiBenedetto (132, 7-4 decision) and Kelly (138, pin, 1:41) picked up wins for the Tuskers.

The Tuskers also squared off with Horace Greeley and fell in a tight match, 45-37. Vieira (170, pin, 1:15), Jared Rannekleiv (220, forfeit), Roeidger (pin, 126, 0:40), DiBenedetto (132, forfeit), Kelly (138, pin, 3:48), Davison (152, major decision, 11-3) and Heine (160, decision, 3-0) all earned victories.

Somers will compete in the Yorktown Dual Meet Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 12 with competition beginning at 8 a.m.

“You always learn a lot from the first week of competition,” DiSanto Jr. said of the progress he has seen in his team. “The team is getting used to making weight and getting the right mindset to compete. With every match we will get a little better, so I’m looking forward to see how much we improve as the season continues. Because of our depth, I’m expecting us to be a competitive dual meet team. Win or lose next weekend, I’m predicting some exciting matches.”