The Southampton wrestling team stayed busy over the holiday break, traveling to a pair of tournaments and coming away with good results.
At the Copiague Tournament on Saturday, standouts Peter Strassfield and Rafal Rokosz were both champions, with Rokosz pinning Deonte Wilson on Amityville in 42 seconds to win the title at 220 pounds, while Strassfield pinned Sean Horan of North Babylon in just 21 seconds to win at 285 pounds. Mariner Chris Osufsen, who has been looking strong so far this season, advanced to the finals at 126 pounds, where he was pinned by Chris Meloni of Shoreham/Wading River in 4:42.
The Mariners had two other wrestlers reach the consolation finals, with Mitchell Pena (120) losing a tough 3-2 decision to David Miele-Estrella of North Babylon, and Ian Saw-Burke (160) getting pinned in 2:04 by Troy Miller of Shoreham/Wading River. Pena was close to getting a takedown when the whistle blew to end the match. Saw-Burke, meanwhile, became a place-winner at a tournament for the first time in his career and he had two pins along the way, including an upset of the fourth seed. Saw-Burke had Miller on his back at one point but wasn’t able to finish him off as Miller scurried out of bounds.
Southampton finished fifth of the seven teams in the tournament with 88 points. Shoreham (259.5 points) was the winner, followed by North Babylon (202), Copiague (175.5), Babylon (123), the Mariners, Sewanhaka West (66.5) and Amityville (47).
Before Christmas, the Mariners competed in the East Meadow Tournament, contested over two days, December 27 and 28. Rokosz won the title at 220 pounds, beating Tom Flynn of Seaford in a 14-2 major decision. He also had two other pins on the day, beating John Sandoval of Kellenberg in just 12 seconds and Dion Kennedy of Center Moriches in 44 seconds. Rokosz is now 11-0 on the year.
Strassfield suffered his first loss of the year in the finals at 285 pounds, getting pinned by James O’Hagan of Seaford in 1:28. O’Hagan is ranked eighth in the nation and first in New York State, and by beating Strassfield, he earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award at the tournament. Strassfield is the top ranked 285-pounder in Suffolk County. Strassfield and O’Hagan had byes into the finals at the tournament.
Pena, Osufsen and Thomas Roughan (182) all finished in the top three at East Meadow. Pena lost an 11-8 decision to Andre Cuhna of East Meadow in the finals, with Cunha getting a takedown with less than 10 seconds left. Before that, Pena pinned Zakiy Khan of Lynbrook in 3:10 and had a bye in the first round.
“Mitch looked great all day,” Southampton head coach Lester Ware said. “The best I have seen in his career.”
Osufsen beat Leon Paul of Mount Sinai in a 2-0 sudden-victory overtime win, getting a takedown to score the only points of the match. Osufsen also beat Joseph Moscato of Kellenberg in an 8-3 decision, won by technical fall over Mike Murphy of Seaford, 15-0, and won by forfeit over Troy Henshaw of Kellenberg. Osufsen’s only loss came in a 9-2 decision against Robert Tantillo of Great Neck South.
Roughan received a pair of byes and then was pinned by John Laurett of Seaford in 1:02, before rebounding with a pin of Hector Rios of Center Moriches in just 29 seconds to take third.
Ware said he’s been happy to see wrestlers like Pena, Osufsen, Saw-Burke and others start to round into form as the season progresses. While Strassfield and Rokosz are clear standouts and have been for awhile, the coach said it’s nice to see other wrestlers starting to find success.
“That group of kids is starting to really put it together,” he said.
Rokosz and Strassfield will compete in the Eastern States Classic tournament on January 10 and 11. The tournament is one of the most prestigious in the country, and only elite wrestlers are granted entrance. Rokosz and Strassfield earned their way because they are ranked among the top wrestlers in the state in their weight class. The tournament will be held at Sullivan Community College in Liberty, New York.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Thursday, 1/9, at Hampton Bays, 4 p.m.; Wednesday, 1/15, vs. Mattituck, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 1/17, at Bayport/Blue Point, 4 p.m.