SOMERS, N.Y. – The Somers/North Salem wrestling team placed 10th overall and walked away with two individual champions when it hosted the 41st annual Eric D’Agnese Memorial Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 4.
“Overall, we competed with a lot of heart,” said Somers/North Salem coach Ron DiSanto. “Having the home advantage at a tournament is a privilege that not all teams get to experience. Our guys were extra motivated wrestling in their home gym.”
Seniors Thomas Gall (220 pounds) and Zach Lupinacci (145) placed first for Somers/North Salem. Gall pinned Mahopac’s Londrim Hasanramaj at 4:47 in the finals. Lupinacci scored an 8-3 victory by decision over Mahopac’s Larry Nardecchia in his finals match.
“Every Somers wrestler has a goal to win the Somers tournament by the end of their career,” DiSanto said. “With their goals in mind, they remained calm and focused throughout the day. It was special for them both to win it together their senior year after coming close in previous years. Zach had to wrestle smart and methodically to win those close matches against tough opponents in the semis and finals. Thomas pulled an upset in the finals, leading 1-0 going into the third period and winning by pin against Londrim, who is ranked in the section.”
Peter Kim, another senior, took second at 160 pounds. Michael Aquilino (106) and Mike Rivera (220) each finished sixth for the Tuskers.
D’Agnese, who passed away in 2005 after being a member of Somers’ wrestling team for four years, had his name added to the tournament’s title “to keep his memory alive,” DiSanto said.
DiSanto noted that the highlight of the day was when Eric’s brother Vinny made a motivational speech before the finals.
“It was about how his memories of Eric are not about his wins and losses but about the great person he was,” DiSanto said. “Vinny encouraged the wrestlers in attendance to see the big picture and live their lives with integrity and dedication. Vinny also helped distribute medals at the awards ceremony.”
The team was scheduled to travel to Yorktown for a dual meet on Wednesday, Jan. 8. DiSanto said they are well prepared for a grueling stretch before the postseason.
“Each tournament in January gets tougher and tougher,” he said. “We will get to test ourselves against good competition in January and make the adjustments needed to peak for the postseason in February.”