Halfway through the day at the Sprig Gardner Tournament at East Hampton High School on Saturday, Westhampton Beach wrestling coach Paul Bass was feeling disappointed.
He didn’t expect his young squad to have the success it had at the tournament last year—when it won by more than 40 points and had nine wrestlers in the finals and six champions—but with only seven wrestlers having made it to the semifinals, it looked like his team’s fall from grace was going to be a lot sharper than he’d expected.
That’s when the Hurricanes surprised him.
Westhampton Beach rallied with strong showings in the wrestleback rounds to take third place out of eight teams, with 191.5 points. Hauppauge (299) won the tournament, followed by Ward Melville (227.5). Riverhead (167.5) was fourth, followed by Bayport/Blue Point (110.5), host East Hampton (72), Southampton (58) and Hampton Bays (35).
For the day, the Hurricanes had 15 wrestlers place in the top six in their respective weight classes, and seven of those place-winners were freshmen or sophomores.
“I knew we were going to be young this year, but I was not happy in the first part of the day,” Bass said. “We lost matches we should have won. A lot of the kids are starting for the first time, and I felt like they were a little intimidated or something, I don’t know. But they really came on with some tough matches in the wrestlebacks. We were looking at having only five guys in the top four and seven place-winners, but we had 11 in the top four and 15 place-winners.”
Chris Chomicki was Westhampton Beach’s lone champion, winning the 195-pound weight class by pinning Dylan Brophy of Hauppauge in just 37 seconds. Chomicki had three pins on the day. Chomicki wasn’t a starter last year, but Bass has confidence in him.
“He’s been a very solid kid for us,” he said. “Now’s his time. I think he could be a real force [at 195].”
Kyle Maddock (132 pounds) and Aidan Kravitz (170) also advanced to the finals, finishing second. Maddock lost, 16-7, to Austin Munro of Hauppauge, while Kravitz was downed in a 6-3 decision by Vincent Drago of Hauppauge.
“Kyle and Aidan had good tournaments, they just didn’t have great finals,” Bass said of the two veteran wrestlers. “But that’s all right, it’s early.”
Four Hurricane wrestlers finished third in their weight classes—Jake Martin (220), Esteban Garcia (126), Ryan Osborne (145) and Alex Kravitz (160). Martin pinned Justin Hansel of Riverhead in 59 seconds, and he won most pins in the least amount of time for the tournament. Garcia beat Sergio Fajardo of Riverhead in a 5-3 decision, while Osborne pinned Matt Foumaris of Ward Melville in 1:42. Osborne lost to Foumaris in the quarterfinals, but was able to wrestle back and beat him in the rematch. Alex Kravitz pinned Billy Mecca of Ward Melville in 1:25.
“I was very happy with the third-place guys because they all had disappointing losses, and they all came back and won their last two or three matches to take third,” Bass said. “That shows a lot of character.”
Connor Glynn (99 pounds), Hunter Hulse (140), Billy Campbell (152) and Tahsin Korur (182) all finished fourth. Hulse did not wrestle in the match for third and fourth because of an injury.
Dane Mendoza (99) and Danny Strebel (113) were fifth, while Sean Ebrus (132) and Casey Hughes (113) finished sixth.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Saturday and Sunday, 12/21 and 12/22, Center Moriches Duals, 9 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 12/27 and 12/28, Half Hollow Hills East Tournament, 9 a.m.; Friday, 1/3, at Mount Sinai, 4 p.m.