The good news for Westhampton Beach wrestling—the team has seven returning All-League wrestlers.
The bad news—the Hurricanes compete in what is arguably the toughest league in New York State.
Westhampton Beach will have to muscle its way to the top with a schedule that has no breaks this season, in either league meets or tournaments.
Longtime head coach Paul Bass said his team has the potential to do well, but admitted that nothing will come easy.
“We’ve got a lot of returning talent,” he said. “But they just have to gel as a team. They’ve got to learn to trust each other. The newer guys will have to step up and fill some holes too.
“We’re in the toughest league in New York state, no question,” Bass continued, talking about League V, which includes powerhouses Hauppauge—the returning dual meet county champion—and Rocky Point, which was ranked higher than Hauppague in the preseason rankings. Eastport South Manor and Kings Park are forces to be reckoned with as well. In the individual preseason rankings by weight class, 23 of the 90 wrestlers were from League V schools, including five who were ranked first. Westhampton Beach was in League VI last year, but moved into League V because its enrollment went up.
Leading the Canes this year will be the seven returning All-League wrestlers, joined by another two returning starters. Senior Matt Tanzman (106/113 pound weight class) was second in the league last year; returning junior Dane Mendoza (113/120) was second in the league and finished fifth in the county; freshman Liam McIntyre (140/145) was fourth in the league last year; senior Connor Glynn (120/126) was second in the league last year; senior Alex Kravitz (152/160) was second in the league; senior Matt Tobin (160/170) was second in the league; and Dan McClure (182/195) was second in the league. Mendoza and McClure are ranked in the top six in their weight classes to start the season. Westhampton Beach also brings back starters Billy Campbell (170/182, a senior) and Danny Strebel (132/138, a junior).
Bass added he expects contributions from another large group of wrestlers this year, including: Tyler Skala (sophomore, 99/106); Dan Purkis (junior, 113/120); Jack Ciolino (sophomore, 126/132); Brandon White (sophomore, 126); David Cable (junior, 126/132); Jayson Distifano (senior, 138/145); Sean Ebrus (senior, 126/132); Thatcher Cord (sophomore, 145/152); Scott Rementer (junior, 145/152); Thomas O’Shea, a transfer from Hampton Bays, (junior, 182/195); Edward Ford (senior, 220); Jeremy Endara (junior, 220), and Sal DiBennedetto (junior, 285).
Westhampton Beach will start the season at the Sprig Gardner Tournament at East Hampton High School on December 12 and will travel to Harborfields on December 16 for the first League V dual meet of the season, at 4:30 p.m. The Hurricanes will compete in the Center Moriches Duals on December 19 and 20.
Detailed info on the team can be found at whbwrestling.net.