With a roster full of young and largely inexperienced wrestlers, East Hampton struggled to win dual meets last season, finishing with a 1-7 mark in a very competitive League V. This season, the Bonackers are still young, although they are more experienced with several returning wrestlers. Despite a move to a different league, the competition will still be tough. But head coach Jim Stewart is hoping that his group will bond more as a team this season, and he’s optimistic that several of the stronger returning wrestlers can make a name for themselves in League VI.
Junior Nick Jarboe (189 pounds) returns as the most successful individual wrestler for the Bonackers. He placed fourth in the League V meet last season, which sent him to the county tournament as an alternate. Because everyone in his weight class made weight, he did not get to wrestle at the county meet, but he has a good shot at making it back and getting to see some action this season.
Senior Andrew Foglia was also one of East Hampton’s top performers last year and will compete at either 189 or 215 pounds. Stewart said that while Foglia’s main sport is football, he’s confident that he can finish his wrestling career on a high note.
“We’re really hoping he has a good season,” Stewart said.
Junior Kyle McGowin (135 pounds) of Pierson and Steven Ward, who will wrestle at either 145 or 152 pounds, should also have a big impact on the team.
“Steven will be one of our better wrestlers,” Stewart said. “He has a great deal of ability, speed and strength and we’re hoping he’ll have a breakout year.”
Sophomore Peter Johann was injured for most of last season but should help the Bonackers in the middle weights this season as well.
“He’s a great athlete,” Stewart said. “He had a good football season and should do well for us.”
Sophomore Kelly Kalbacher and junior Pat Brophy will also compete in the middle weight areas, and both of them have improved on their performances from last year. Brophy strung together several wins at the end of the season in dual meets and tournaments.
Sophomores Seth Barrows, Dylan Carroza, Ray Hackebill, Mike Pagano and Cory Pawlukojc will all contribute in the middle weight divisions while sophomores Taylor Harned, Chris Gamble and Joel Metzger will give East Hampton depth at the higher weights. Because the Bonackers have too much depth in certain weight classes and not enough in other weight classes, several wrestlers will be forced to compete in higher weight classes, which will be a challenge, but it’s a strategy that Stewart has often had to employ in order to avoid forfeiting certain weight classes.
While the Bonackers will have a tough time competing against powerhouse teams such as Hauppauge, Elwood/John Glenn, Mt. Sinai, Amityville and Westhampton Beach, Stewart said he’s been happy thus far with what he’s seen from his team and the improvements it has made from last season.
“Some of them have grown so much and really matured,” he said. “They’ve learned a lot.”
This season, Stewart said he’d like to see his team win its non-league matches and have more wrestlers place at the League VI meet.
East Hampton will kick off the season by hosting Eastport South Manor (League IV) in a non-league match on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. The Bonackers will host the Sprig Gardner Tournament at East Hampton High School on December 13 at 9 a.m. and will visit Stony Brook (League VII) for a non-league match on December 18 at 4:30 p.m. They will visit Port Jeff for a non-league match on December 23 at 5 p.m.