Westhampton Beach wrestling coach Paul Bass believes his team can be formidable in dual meets this season, a belief based on the potential he sees in some of his younger, more unproven wrestlers. But in the first outing of the season, it was the more experienced grapplers on the team who came through for the Hurricanes, leading to a fourth-place finish out of nine teams at the annual Sprig Gardner Tournament at East Hampton High School.
Westhampton Beach had three champions on the day—Tyler Skala at 99 pounds, Dane Mendoza at 113, and Dan McClure at 195—and a total of 11 place-winners. And while those numbers were respectable, Bass said he wished the place-winners had been spread out more among the weight classes.
“Our top guys did well,” Bass said. “But some of the sophomores and juniors I expect to step up this season didn’t have a great day. If we’re going to be as good as I think we can be, they’ll need to step up.”
Skala had the most dominant performance of the day for his team, beating Mark Matyka of Riverhead by technical fall to win the 99-pound weight class. Before that win, Skala had two pins and a major decision.
Mendoza won easily in the final at 113, shutting out Longwood’s Ryan Pitre, 8-0. He had a pin and a major decision leading up to that victory. McClure faced the toughest competition of the day but looked strong throughout, Bass said. He got past East Hampton’s Axel Alanis—an All-County wrestler last season—in a 7-3 decision, where all of Alanis’s points came from escapes. McClure took Alanis down three times and looked strong, Bass said.
At 160 pounds, Alex Kravitz finished second, and Billy Campbell was also a runner-up, at 182 pounds. Matt Tanzman (113) finished third, while Jason Montagna was fourth at 99 and Jackson Hulse was sixth at 99, giving Westhampton Beach three place-winners in that bracket. Scott Rementer took fourth at 152, while Dan Purkis (113) and Tom O’Shea (182) finished sixth.
Longwood won the tournament, followed by Sachem North, Ward Melville, Westhampton Beach, Riverhead, Bayport/Blue Point, East Hampton, Hampton Bays, and Southampton. (Final points were not tallied as of press time).
Westhampton Beach was scheduled to visit Harborfields on December 16 for a non-league meet and will compete in the Center Moriches Duals on Saturday and Sunday.