YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown coach Eric Fama has plenty of talent returning in seniors: 120/126-pounder Andrew Finateri (fifth in the section last year), 220-pounder Benjamin Robinson (second), 160/170-pounder Christian Sinagra (sixth), 145/152-pounder Dean Patierno (sixth) and 132/138-pounder Marc Pisani (sectional qualifier).
Finateri, Sinagra and Patierno are the captains, who Fama said are expected to motivate the newcomers.
“We have a lot of young eighth and ninth-grade wrestlers this year that are coming onto the team with several years of wrestling experience before even reaching high school,” Fama said. “The most accomplished one of the group is Joseph Tornambe, who was first in the section and third in the state in middle-school division last year.”
Tornambe, the son of former Yorktown coach John Tornambe, is an eighth grader.
Fama said that the team’s strengths are experience and numbers, the latter of which is new for the sixth-year coach.
“We will have multiple guys for each weight class and will be able to fill out a full lineup which will make us both a tough tournament and dual- meet team,” Fama said.
As a team, Fama said that the goals are to be the league champs and place in the top five in the section.
“These are high goals, but very attainable for this group,” Fama said.
Yorktown was scheduled to start the season at John Jay (Cross River) at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 4, in the first and second rounds of the Section 1 Dual Meet Championship. Yorktown was to face John Jay (East Fishkill) in the opening round and, if the Huskers won, would wrestle the winner of John Jay (Cross River) and Scarsdale.
Lakeland/Panas coach Dave Bergen is in his third consecutive season coaching the Rebels, after also coaching them in 1996-97, ’97-98 and ’98-99, before a 14-year stint at White Plains.
Bergen’s top returning wrestlers are seniors Nick DeSantis (170), Declan Fullerton (182) and Pat Hickey (285); juniors Gio Russo (113), Austin Bergen (132), Dom Duggan (138), and Shane Coster (145); and sophomore Connor McGannon (182).
DeSantis, Russo and Austin Bergen, Dave’s son, were All-League last season.
“I expect all of these wrestlers to work hard and contribute team points in every dual meet and to place in every tournament,” said Dave Bergen, who coached the Rebels’ modified team for two seasons before taking over their varsity. “None of them have placed at sectionals in the past but it is a good possibility this year with a lot of hard work.”
Fullerton, DeSantis and Hickey are the Rebels’ captains.
“I expect them to show the younger wrestlers how to things are done on our team,” Dave Bergen said. “To lead by example in everything from how to practice with focus and intensity, to setting up and cleaning the mats and everything in-between. I expect that they will have great seasons wrestling wise but I also hope the they will leave a positive legacy behind.”
Newcomers to the varsity are juniors Tyler Carter (195), Charlie Dubrawski (220) and Niko Rezaj (138): sophomores Spencer Maja (106), Hunter Dagnino (126), Ryan Deitrick (160), Steven Santalisa (152) and Chris Ciraco (152); and freshmen Yan Ryzy (138), Copper Schmidt (138), Stephen Carrol (132), Dom Parente (182), and Jacob Pagano (113).
“We also have a bunch of other guys that are athletic and learning fast, who could challenge for spots,” Bergen said.
The Rebels’ strengths are having experienced wrestlers throughout the lineup with some newcomers in between.
“The experienced guys are helping create a great atmosphere for learning and pushing the new guys to work harder,” Dave Bergen said. “We have a great group who support each other while still challenging each other every day.”
The Rebels are coming off a season where they were 11-10 overall and 3-3 in their league.
“We will look to improve on that,” said Dave Bergen, whose team won the Conference 2 League C championship in the 2017-18 campaign. “Winning the league would be great but we will have to beat some tough teams.”
Lakeland/Panas was scheduled to open the season hosting the Section 1 Dual Meet, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Walter Panas, which was to include Clarkstown North, Harrison, and New Rochelle.