ARDSLEY, N.Y. — The Lakeland/Panas wrestling squad started the New Year on a high note when it competed at the Ardsley Invitational, the Joe Radomski Memorial Wrestling Tournament, in what its coach Craig Bergquist thought was an impressive performance on Jan. 2.
“All and all it was a good day,” Bergquist said. “Out of 11 guys who wrestled six placed.”
Leading the way for the Rebels was Brandon DiDomenico, who placed first at 106 pounds and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Junior Wrestler and Alexander Melikian, who finished first at 182 pounds and was named the Most Outstanding Senior Wrestler of the tournament.
“Both Brandon and Alex took first and it was agreed upon amongst the coaches that because of this and the caliber at which they are wrestling and the fact that they were able to handle their opponents is why they were the most outstanding wrestlers today,” Bergquist said.
While DiDomenico and Melikian stood out, the Rebels also had other grapplers who excelled at Ardsley in William Ortiz (132 pounds), who placed second and Ryan Ocasio (113), Kevin Moore (160) and Ryan Quinn (182), who each finished in third.
“It’s worked out to be a tournament that was at our level which allowed for a bunch of our younger guys to be successful, get some wins and place,” Bergquist said.
Yorktown shined at the Glen Cove Charles McCollough Tournament at Glen Cove High School on Long Island placing fifth out of 15 teams in the Dec. 29 event.
“It was a great experience for our young guys to wrestle against tough competition,” Yorktown coach Eric Fama said.
Fama decided to take his team to Long Island because of what he learned from his high-school coach, Jim Guccione, while wrestling at New Rochelle before graduating from there in 2004.
“When I wrestled, my coach always brought us out to the island to wrestle new faces and better competition to make us better so I wanted to do the same thing,” Fama said.
The Huskers did as well as they did as a team against that better competition in part because of their ability to bounce back from adversity.
“We had a lot of guys come back after a loss and still place by winning a bunch of matches in the wrestle backs,” Fama said.
Individually, leading Yorktown was Josh Grant, who took first place at 170 pounds.
“Josh is learning how to win close matches,” Fama said. “He knows when he needs to score and when he can be a little more defensive.”
Thomas Carson placed second (285 pounds), Pat Patierno (138) and Ethan Rodriguez (285) third, Ross Mandel (145) fourth, Andrew Finateri (106) and Connor Thomas (160) fifth and Dean Patierno (99) and Tyler Rodriguez (220) sixth for Yorktown.
Fama feels his team’s performance on the island will be a nice confidence boost going into his squad’s first league match of the season, which was scheduled for 4:30 pm Wednesday, Jan. 6 at Horace Greeley.