YORKTOWN, N.Y. — Yorktown’s wrestling squad excelled at the Pawling Tournament on Dec. 19, taking second place.
“It was great to place second as a team, and I feel we wrestled as well as we did because each guy has about 10-15 matches under their belt,” Yorktown coach Eric Fama said. “With this experience each guy has found a style that works best for them.”
Mauricio Arango (138 pounds), Ross Mandel (145) and Josh Grant (182) all placed first and each went 5-0 for Yorktown.
“Ross was on the offense all day winning all five bouts by pin,” Fama said. “Mauricio and Josh both had a few close wins where they wrestled a very smart match.”
Thomas Carson (285) also placed first with a 3-0 mark. Andrew Finateri (106, 4-1), Pat Patierno (152, 4-1), Connor Thomas (160, 4-1), Tyler Rodriguez (220, 3-1) and Ethan Rodriguez (285, 2-1) all placed second with Matt Steigmeier (170, 3-2) earning a third-place finish.
“We have some tough tournaments coming up,” Fama said. “Glen Cove out in Long Island and the Shoreline, so hopefully this builds our guys’ confidence.”
Yorktown lost at Roy C. Ketcham 53-16 on Dec. 17, with the highlight being Mandel defeating Isaac Mathews at 152 pounds.
Mathews, a transfer from Marlboro, was the small school Section 9 champ at 152 pounds a year ago.
“It should not only be a confidence booster,” Fama said, “but it will also earn him points for seeding criteria for the postseason.”
Mandel said the key to winning was changing his pre-match routine this year, which he said has definitely worked in his favor.
“Instead of getting fired up before big matches, I’ve been calming down and mentally just clearing my mind completely of all thoughts,” Mandel said. “This helps me stay relaxed yet stay intense yet relaxed and be able to stay mentally tough during big matches.”
Like his coach, Mandel feels beating Mathews could pay off down the road.
“Obviously my goal for the end of the year is to win a section title,” Mandel said, “so being able to beat someone who’s done it before is awesome.”
Yorktown had some other notable performances from Carson, who won by pin at 285 pounds, a come-from-behind victory by Trevvon Johnson at 126 pounds and a major decision at 145 pounds by Patierno.
“The other guys won by being aggressive and hopefully it gives them some momentum going into this weekend,” Fama said.
Mandel feels the hard work of Carson, Johnson, Patierno and the rest of his teammates will pay dividends as the winter goes on.
“Everyone’s working hard in the room and it’s paying off,” Mandel said. “I can’t wait to see how much everyone improves.”