LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y.— It wasn’t the outcome Ron DiSanto and the Somers wrestling team expected this season, but the third-year coach was still content with the hard work his team put in throughout the campaign.
Somers sent two grapplers to sectionals at Arlington High School on Feb. 11. The tournament was originally slated to be over two days on Feb. 11-12, but was condensed into a one-day tourney due to concerns over inclement weather on Feb. 12.
Senior captain Billy DiBenedetto competed at 126 pounds and was the No. 4 seed. In the first round, he pinned Lakeland/Panas’ Justin Rosario in 4:24, but fell 11-3 to Mount Vernon’s Najashi Sharpe in the quarterfinals.
DiSanto said DiBenedetto wrestled tough and aggressive, but made a few small mistakes in his matches which cost him.
“Even though it wasn’t an ideal day, it was only one day and doesn’t overshadow his great season,” DiSanto said. “He was in the mix all season and led the team with 31 wins, 22 pins, was a finalist in five tournaments and champion in two of them.”
Junior Sean Freebern was the No. 8 seed at 220 pounds. He pinned John Jay-East Fishkill’s Javon Hines in 3:06 in the first round, but was pinned by Horace Greeley’s Stephen Nadler in the quarters. In the wrestle backs, Freebern picked up a win over sixth-seeded Joe Harney of Mahopac, who had defeated him at divisionals.
“Sean wrestled well and came really close to placing,” DiSanto said. “He improved all season and was able to perform his best in the postseason. The highlight of the day for him was pinning Harney from Mahopac to win their tie-breaking match for the season. He established himself as an all-section contender going into next season.”
DiSanto said that the trio of seniors on the team in DiBenedetto, Graham Roediger and Brian Walter will be missed next season. DiBenedetto and Roediger have been in the core of the lineup for three seasons.
“They are irreplaceable, not just because of how successful they were, but because they were so reliable,” DiSanto said. “Whether or not they were wrestling tough opponents or feeling banged up, I always trusted them to rise to the occasion and compete as hard as they could. Billy had incredible dedication. He pushed his limits every practice and often stayed late after practice for extra workouts. Graham had great wrestling smarts on and off the mat. He was good at calculating his opponents and coming up with strategies. Brian Walter had so much passion and dedication to wrestling. He was a motivator in the wrestling room and knew how to get the team pumped.”
While they do lose some talented seniors, the Tuskers return the majority of their lineup for next year, so DiSanto is naturally excited about the upcoming season.
“The lineup should be pretty experienced with a lot of seniors and established varsity wrestlers,” he said. “We should be a good tournament team again and I hope to fill in some holes to be more competitive in dual meets.”