SOMERS, N.Y.-Senior Antonio Vieira and sophomore Matt Kelly each earned second-place finishes at the Westchester County Wrestling Championships on Jan. 20 at Yonkers High School.
Vieira was a finalist at 170 pounds and fell to Horace Greeley’s Steven Bilali 11-7 in the championship bout.
Kelly reached the 195-pound final where he lost to Fox Lane’s Johnny Santos, 6-2.
Tusker coach Ron DiSanto was proud of their performances.
“Antonio and Matt had some really tough matches on their way to the finals,” DiSanto said. “They were challenged but they rose to the occasion. Antonio came from behind to pin his opponent in the semis, which was important for me to see he can come back when facing adversity. Matt physically and mentally broke a tough Yorktown opponent [Matt Steigmeier] in the semis after working his power-half really well. In the finals they had competitive matches with elite opponents. They gave their best effort, which is all I ask of them.”
DiSanto called the setbacks in the finals “good losses” from which the duo will learn. “With a few things to work on, we are optimistic they can win when they meet those opponents again in the postseason,” he said.
Somers placed eighth out of 28 teams with 92.5 points. Fox Lane was first (196 points) with New Rochelle taking second (140.5).
Also placing for the Tuskers were Sean Freebern (220 pounds, fourth), Nick Fiore (152, fifth) and Matt Russo (99, sixth).
“It definitely helped build our confidence,” DiSanto said when asked if the team’s success at the meet would be a morale booster. “We got a lot of positive attention and took a lot of teams by surprise. Many of our guys, including both finalists and Russo, had good losses that they will learn from and come back stronger. At the same time, it was a reality check. This was our team’s biggest challenge of the season. It was good to see the majority of our guys rise to the occasion.”
Somers defeated visiting Brewster 48-33 in a dual meet on Jan. 18. All the Tusker wins came via pin with Russo (99), Brendan Loughlin (132), Frank Celli (138), Peter Bentivegna (170), Vieira (182), Michael Rivera (195), Kelly (220) and Freebern (285) scoring falls.
With Mahopac’s tournament on Jan. 27 and the postseason starting the following weekend with Divisionals, the Tuskers are hitting their stride at an appropriate time.
“We are progressing nicely and continuing to improve,” DiSanto said. “We’re wrestling well and we’re very proud of our accomplishments so far. I think we still have room to improve and we will continue to grow and learn as we get closer to the postseason.”