YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y.— Yorktown wrestling coach Eric Fama returns to guide the Huskers for a third season and has plenty of talent coming back from a year ago.
Fama’s top returning grapplers are junior captains Connor Thomas (third in the section and all-league, 152/160 pounds) and Patrick Patierno (sectional qualifier, all-league, 145/152 ) in addition to Thomas Carson (senior, 285), Mauricio Arango (junior, sectional qualifier, 138/145) and Andrew Finateri (freshman, sectional qualifier, 113).
The Huskers will look to continue their positive momentum from a year ago, when eight of their wrestlers qualified for the Section 1 Division 1 tournament.
“We have six of the eight qualifiers returning, including Andrew Finateri, Dan Kramer, Mauricio Arango, Patrick Patierno, Connor Thomas and Tyler Rodriguez,” Fama said. “We are looking to carry that momentum into this year by having 10-plus wrestlers qualify and look to crack the top 10 in the team race.”
As for newcomers, Fama isn’t sure yet who will emerge but is excited about the possibilities.
“It’s a little too early to see what some of our new wrestlers have, but we have a bunch of young athletes that will be good wrestlers after putting some time into the sport,” Fama said “We also have an eighth-grader named Christopher Perry who has had a lot of success on the youth level that we moved up to varsity. Just like the rest of our young guys, with some hard work and more time in the sport he can have a lot of success in the near future.”
Fama said his team’s strengths are that it should be a very good tournament team with between seven and eight wrestlers who can place in just about every tournament on its schedule.
As for goals, he said it is for everyone on the team to maximize their potential.
“We are focusing on the team coming into practice every day with a plan to get better and with this attitude we can definitely crack the top 10 in the section,” Fama said.
Yorktown will start its season Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Somers tournament.
Lakeland/Panas will also look to build off its positive momentum from last season, one that saw one of its grapplers, Alex Melikian, make it to the state Division 1 finals in the 182-pound bracket before he graduated.
The Rebels have three key wrestlers returning from last year’s squad, including senior Brandon DiDomenico, who will compete at 113 pounds this season.
DiDomenico placed fourth in the Section 1 Division 1 tournament a season ago at 106 pounds. He made it to the semifinals, where in one of his best efforts of the season he lost to the eventual champion, Yonkers’ Justin Lopez, and now has every expectation of reaching the section championship match this February.
Two other key returnees who will be looking to qualify and do well in the sectionals this winter are senior Kevin Moore at 170 pounds and sophomore Ryan Ocasio, who will wrestle between 113 and 125 pounds after making great strides towards the end of last season.
First-year Lakeland/Panas coach Anthony Whitehouse anticipates strong seasons from DiDomenico, Moore and Ocasio.
“I expect them to be highly competitive,” Whitehouse said. “I love Brandon’s intensity and his knowledge of wrestling. Kevin Moore has an unbelievable work ethic and Ryan is a hardworking, knowledgeable, motivated wrestler.”
Whitehouse said he has two seniors in Richard Shaw and Christopher Servedio, from whom he also expects solid contributions.
The coach said he is eager to work with his wrestlers, who have impressed him off the bat with the way they conduct themselves.
“Their attitude and work ethic is great,” Whitehouse said. “We have been doing some serious conditioning and they do not shy away from it.”
Due to that work ethic and youthful exuberance, Whitehouse is looking for positive things from his squad this season, which starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Rye Tournament.
“I expect them to work hard and be competitive as a team and I expect some individual success from certain wrestlers,” Whitehouse said.