It’s a message Paul Bass has been preaching to his team since the beginning of the season, and one he’s hoping will sink in sooner rather than later: the need to toughen up.
The Westhampton Beach wrestling coach said it is crucial for his team, as the season progresses, to find ways to win close matches and avoid giving up bonus points in losses. The Hurricanes learned the hard way how the failure to do so can lead to a disappointing loss during their home Westhampton Beach Dual Meet Tournament on Saturday.
The Hurricanes went 2-2 on the day, but their most painful loss came against Bellport, a team that had never beaten them before. The teams wound up tied 35-35, but Bellport won on criteria, meaning it had won more head-to-head matches (which is the tiebreaker). Against Bellport, the Canes lost three matches by two points or less, and also were winning two other matches before those wrestlers wound up not only losing the lead but getting pinned.
“Those little things kill you,” Bass said. “That’s not Westhampton wrestling—that’s not us. We’ve got to wrestle a lot tougher if we’re going to be a good dual meet team. On that mat, you have to toughen up. We’re giving up way too many pins.”
The Hurricanes earned a 63-12 win over Bay Shore in what Bass said was his team’s “best match of the day,” where several Westhampton Beach wrestlers won close matches. Westhampton Beach also earned a 54-19 win over Newfield. The Canes lost to Bellport and Upper Darby, a team from Pennsylvania, in a 48-24 match. Upper Darby won the tournament, beating Mattituck in the finals, while Miller Place downed Bellport to decide third and fourth place.
Hunter Hulse was the MVP of the day for Westhampton Beach, going 4-0 with three technical falls and a pin at 138 pounds.
“He wrestled really, really well,” Bass said of Hulse.
Jake Martin (220 pounds) was also 4-0 on the day, while Aiden Kravitz (170), Alex Kravitz (160), Chris Chomicki (195) and Ryan Osborne (145) all went 3-1.
Before hosting their own tournament, the Hurricanes competed in the Half Hollow Hills East Tournament on December 27 and 28. The individual tournament featured 12 teams and had more than 10 wrestlers in nearly every weight class. Westhampton Beach finished fifth, with two wrestlers advancing to the finals, three finishing third and three finishing sixth.
At 126 pounds, Esteban Garcia took second, losing 10-4 in the finals to Roman Esposito of Bellmore JFK. Bass was very happy with Garcia’s performance, considering what he went through at the Center Moriches Duals a week earlier.
“He had a great tournament,” Bass said. “I was really proud of Esteban. He had a very rough week the week before at the Center Moriches Duals. He had to wrestle a kid who was third in the state, he wrestled a county champ, another kid who was fourth in the state. It was one hammer after another. His weight class was loaded there. But he really showed me a lot coming off the toughest week he’s ever had.”
Kyle Maddock (132) also took second, losing 5-3 to Brian Pelan of Mattituck in the finals.
Hunter Hulse finished third at 138 pounds, beating Kris Krauss of Hills East, 6-0, in the match for third place. Aiden Kravitz (170) pinned Josiah Cheatham of Hills West in 42 seconds to take third, while Chomicki beat East Hampton’s Axel Alanis, 3-0, to take third at 195 pounds.
Dane Mendoza (99 pounds), Alex Kravitz (160) and Justin Kretsos (138) all finished sixth for the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes were originally scheduled to open the League VI dual meet season at Mount Sinai on Friday, but the game was postponed due to bad weather and rescheduled for Monday, January 6. Results from that meet will appear in next week’s edition.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Wednesday, 1/8, vs. Elwood/John Glenn, 4 p.m.; Friday, 1/10, at East Hampton, 5 p.m.; Saturday, 1/11, at the Commack Dual Meet Tournament, 9 a.m.; Wednesday, 1/15, at Sayville, 4 p.m.