YONKERS, N.Y. – Lakeland/Panas performed well at the Westchester County Championships at Lincoln High School on Sunday, Jan. 19, finishing in ninth place out of 26 teams.

Individually, the Rebels had three of their grapplers place: Nicolas DeSantis (second, 170 pounds), Austin Bergen (third, 126) and Charlie Dubrawski (fourth, 220).

“We have been working hard in practice and looking better every time we step on the mat,” said Rebels coach Dave Bergen. “We have a lot of young wrestlers on our team and they are all doing their best to improve.”

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It all begins in practice, Coach Bergen said.

“Nicolas, Austin, and Charlie are all good athletes that work hard every day in practice. They also have practice partners that push them to be better every day,” the coach said. “Even though those partners might not have placed, their contribution was just as important to the team’s success.”

Overall, Coach Bergen felt good about his team’s performance.

“To have three individual place finishers and a ninth-place team finish is very respectable in a tough tourney,” he said. “It was a big improvement over our 15th-place finish last year. Everyone that wrestled today represented our team and themselves extremely well.”

DeSantis said it meant a lot to finish second, but wishes he could’ve done better.

“Like most people, I would  have liked to finish first but that is not always the case, so I am still very happy to be able to place second at such a prestigious and hard tournament,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said that preparation was the key to his success.

“I was able to perform as well as I did, because of the effort at practice that I put in, and constantly trying to better myself not only at practice, but outside of practice like going to the gym,” DeSantis said.

Austin Bergen felt he placed third because of the effort he has put in at practice.

“It really meant a lot to me to finish this high, at a competitive tournament like this,” Austin Bergen said. “It really shows all the hard work I’ve put in.”

Lakeland/Panas improved to 8-4 in dual meets, with two wins during the week, including a 58-27 triumph against visiting Somers/North Salem, on Jan. 14.

Spencer Maja (106, pin), Alexander Russo (113, pin), Gio Russo (120, pin), Austin Bergen (126, forfeit), Stephen Carroll (132, major decision, 12-3), Shane Coster (138, pin), Khefren Ramon (145, pin), Connor McGannon (182, pin), Tyler Carter (195, forfeit), and Dubrawski (220, pin), all recorded wins for the Rebels.

Two days later, the Rebels won at Hendrick Hudson 51-33.

Rebel grapplers Joshua Frogel (99, forfeit), Maja (106, pin), Gio Russo (113, pin), Austin Bergen (126, pin), Carroll (132, pin), Ramon (145, pin), DeSantis (170, pin), Carter (195, Ultimate Tie Breaker, UTB, 6-5) and Patrick Hickey (285, pin), each registered victories against the Sailors.