The Eastport South Manor wrestling team fell twice last week in non-league dual meets, losing 48-21 to Lindenhurst (0-0 in League I, 1-1 overall) and 57-9 to Shoreham Wading River (0-0 in League VI, 1-0 overall).
But good individual performances at the meets—especially from Maverick Passaro, who chalked up wins at both—and solid performances against a slew of teams at the Doc Fallot Memorial Tournament hosted by Hampton Bays on Saturday reflected the team’s strong work ethic, according to head coach Nick Garone.
Against Lindenhurst, Levi Ostler pinned C.J. Thompson in 4:12 to win the 103-pound class. Passaro won the 112-pound class, pinning Andrew Aiello in 2:41.
Jon Mercado, wrestling at 130 pounds, pinned Joe Napolean in 1:22. Ryan Cutler won a 9-5 decision in the 171-pound class over Chris Pentaleri.
Garone said that although he wasn’t happy with the loss, the match was better than the bruising 73-3 loss his team endured last season.
“If they walked into our gym thinking they had an easy match, that wasn’t the case,” he said. “Within a few matches, they realized we weren’t the same team anymore.”
Garone added that even Ron Frole, Lindenhurst’s coach, was so impressed by the difference that he came up to him after the match to congratulate him and the team on the effort.
“I was happy not for myself, but for my kids,” Garone said. “After that match I was a little deflated by the loss, but to hear somebody say that, it was a great thing to hear.”
Visiting Shoreham Wading River, Passaro got another win wrestling again at 112 pounds with an 8-7 decision over Luis Morales. Jared Usher, in the 152-pound class, had the only win by pin of the day over Kyle Reinhardt in 5:53.
One of the things that Garone emphasized at the Shoreham match was the need for the Sharks to “explode at the whistle” to get the early edge, though he added that he is proud of the better “mat awareness” as well as the improved awareness of the clock, and that these things are also instrumental in building a better team.
“Maverick held on at the end to make sure, but for a minute and a half he held the lead,” he said, adding that he was proud of Spellman’s effort in the 140-pound class despite his loss by an 18-12 decision to Shoreham’s Matt Keck.
Garone also praised Usher for his win, but said the lesson was clear for the team’s less successful wrestlers that day.
“You’ve got to move on the bottom,” he said. “One of the worst things you can do is be stagnant.”
ESM made a strong show of force to take third as a team at the Doc Fallot Tournament. Mercado lost in the final round, but took second place in the 130-pound class.
Third-place spots went to Ostler (103), Passaro (112), Brett Spellman (135) and Andrew Hattorff (285). Matt Moore took third in the 215-pound class.
Fifth-place finishers included Haverty (125), Usher (152), Connor Minogue (160) and Cutler (171).
“Having results like that reinforces that we’re doing the right things,” Garone said of his team’s performance.
The Sharks were set to participate in the Sachem North Holiday Tournament on Monday and Tuesday, scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on both days.