Some of the top high school wrestlers from both Southampton and Westhampton Beach tested their skills, and their versatility, on the mat, at the New York State Freestyle and Greco-Roman Championships over the weekend at Broome County Community College in Binghamton.
For Southampton, sophomore heavyweight (285 pounds) Peter Strassfield took first in both freestyle and Greco-Roman in the cadet division (freshmen and sophomores), with 10 pins in less than three minutes. Junior Rafal Rokosz (220) finished fifth in freestyle and third in Greco-Roman in the junior division (juniors and seniors), with one loss in each style. Rokosz exacted some revenge, however, pinning Enndy Nunez of Clarke in 21 seconds in Greco. Clarke beat Rokosz at the high school state tournament in a 7-5 decision.
Southampton head coach Lester Ware also added that Rokosz was “dominating” in a Greco-Roman match with Sean Eagan, who finished fifth in his weight class in the Division I in the high school state tournament over the winter, before getting “over-aggressive” going for a pin, and getting pinned himself.
The main difference between freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling is that holds below the waist are forbidden in Greco-Roman, which leads to an emphasis on throws rather than trips or any other leg action. Folkstyle, the third main form of wrestling, is what is used in regular high school competition. Folkstyle is similar to freestyle, as moves below the waist are permitted, but there are a few minor differences in scoring and other rules.
Ware said that, overall, both Rokosz and Strassfield looked great, and he is excited for the rest of the offseason. Rokosz and Strassfield both won Division II county championships this past winter for Southampton, and will continue to hone their skills in offseason tournaments. They will both compete at the national duals and national championships in Fargo, North Dakota, July 12 to 20. On June 11, Strassfield will travel to Daytona Beach, Florida, to compete in the Cadet National Duals, and on June 25, Rokosz will compete in the Junior National Duals in Oklahoma City. They will be competing as part of a New York State team.
Hurricane senior Liam Bass (170 pounds) made the finals in both freestyle and Greco-Roman and finished second in both styles, wrestling a total of nine matches in the tournament. Senior Nick Strand (138) finished fifth in Greco and did not place in freestyle, in a total of eight matches. Kyle Maddock (132) was sixth in freestyle and did not place in Greco-Roman, with seven total matches. Senior Jake Martin (195) and Trevor Booth (152) also competed but did not place.
“I’m very proud of how they wrestled all weekend,” Westhampton Beach head coach Paul Bass said. He pointed out that all the wrestling takes place in less than 48 hours, starting Friday evening and finishing by noon on Sunday. “That’s a lot of wrestling in a short period of time, and the matches are with all the best kids in the state, and freestyle and Greco are extremely physical and high-energy styles. It’s physically and mentally draining, but it’s an awesome experience for them.”