CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – Yorktown and Lakeland/Panas’ wrestling squads will have plenty of representation at the Section 1 tournament this weekend.
The first day will start at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at Sleepy Hollow, and the second day begins at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, at Clarkstown South.
The finals on the second day are scheduled for 2 p.m.
Both Yorktown and Lakeland/Panas earned their spots at the sectionals, by virtue of impressive divisional performances, at the Division III championships at John Jay High School on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Yorktown qualified seven of their grapplers for the sectionals, including senior captain Andrew Finateri (120 pounds), who placed first at John Jay.
“It meant a lot to me because it was actually my first time placing first at divisionals,” Finateri said. “I wrestled as well as I did because I stuck to the plan my coaches put out for me, and it resulted in great wrestling.”
Huskers’ Joe Tornambe (99, third), Chris Constantine (99, fourth), Marc Pisani (132, third), John Falcone (132, fourth), Dean Patierno (145, third) and Dillon Carter (152, fourth) also qualified for the sectionals.
Yorktown coach Eric Fama said that focus and hard work over the course of the season has allowed his squad to continually improve.
“We are proud of the kids who qualified,” Fama said. “They worked hard all year. We still have more work to do to finish the season strong. Four out of seven kids will be returning next year (Tornambe, Constantine, Falcone and Carter).”
Last year, the Huskers sent just five wrestlers to sections,
“It’s great that we are sending seven people to sectionals [this year],” Finateri said, because it “shows the program is improving.”
Lakeland/Panas had six of their grapplers qualify for the sectionals based on their performance at John Jay. They are Gio Russo (113, first), Austin Bergen (126, second), Connor McGannon (182, third), Charlie Dubrawski (220, third), Pat Hickey (285, third) and Spencer Maja (106, fourth).
Rebel coach Dave Bergen said having six wrestlers qualify for sectionals is an improvement on last year’s result.
“We only got four guys through last year and two of them graduated,” Dave Bergen said. “We have two guys (Russo and Hickey), that are going back and four going for the first time. These kids have been working hard and they earned their spots. I am proud of all of them.”
Practice and good teammates put the Rebels in position to perform as well as they did at John Jay.
“We have been really focused this past week,” Dave Bergen said. “Everyone pushing each other to work harder and be ready. We had a great regular season and it allowed us to be prepared to compete today.”
Austin Bergen said it meant a lot to place second at divisionals.
“Last season, I couldn’t even make top four, so it really is a big improvement,” Austin Bergen said. “I was able to wrestle so well today because of my focus on this tournament all week at practice and working hard every day to sharpen my technique.”
Lakeland/Panas (14-8) finished their regular season with a 54-27 loss at Putnam Valley on Feb. 4.
Joshua Frogel (99, forfeit), Niko Rezaj (145, pin), Declan Fullerton (170, pin), Charlie Dubrawski (220, pin) and Hickey (285, 6-3 decision), registered wins for the Rebels against the Tigers.
Yorktown (9-16) ended their regular season a day later at New Rochelle, losing 64-13, with Tornambe (99, forfeit), Finateri (120, major decision) and Falcone (132, decision) recording wins for the Huskers.