Baymen Wrestling Trying To Load Up On Matches In Preparation For County Tournament

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With two League VII/Division II dual meets last week and the Elwood/John Glenn Duals, the Hampton Bays wrestling team was able to get a bevy of matches under its belt in preparation for the county tournament, which is about two weeks away.

After losing, 45-35, at Center Moriches on Thursday, January 23, the Baymen returned home and lost, 42-31, the next day at home to Port Jefferson, which is ranked second in the county and ninth overall in New York State. Hampton Bays then went to the John Glenn Duals on Saturday, where the Baymen were able to get five matches with some tough Division I schools.

Hampton Bays went 2-3 overall in the tournament, with victories over Glenn’s “B” team and East Islip’s “B” team. The Baymen suffered losses to Glenn’s “A” team, which is ranked sixth in the county, and also lost to Harborfields and Half Hollow Hills East.

Cody Nolan went 4-1 on the day, losing his first match of the season at 160 pounds to Glenn’s Matt Porrello, who is ranked second in the county in Division I. Nolan was behind the eightball, so to speak, just 30 seconds into the match. He bumped heads with Porrello and had about a golf-ball sized lump under one of his eyes. Hampton Bays head coach Rafael Lievano wanted to call the match, but Nolan wanted to keep wrestling. He wound up losing a close 4-0 match, in which he gave up some points in the final period.

Victor Alamo and Ralph Oswald both went 3-2 while Johnny Nolan, Cody’s younger brother, went 2-3. Lievano said Oswald could have very easily gone undefeated. He was beating Glenn’s Robby Valdez before getting thrown to his back late in the match and losing 8-5. He also lost, 4-2, in overtime to Nick Malico of Harborfields.

“It’s a tough tournament with five matches one right after the other,” Lievano said. “The strength of our lineup, which is Alamo, Oswald, Johnny and Cody Nolan, all had great days.”

Lievano was not impressed with his team’s effort against Center Moriches last week. He realizes his team wrestles better at home but figured it would have put forth a better effort against the Red Devils. “We came out really flat and it was just a bad match for us,” he said. “There’s no other way to say it but we wrestled terribly. A lot of matches were given away and we expect a lot more from the guys.”

So the next day, against a state-ranked team in Port Jeff, the Baymen stepped their game up. Max Gembenski, Brandon Soto and Fisher Haines all won their matches, with Soto and Haines winning by pin and Gembenski, a first-year senior wrestler, winning by major decision. Cody Nolan went up against Ryan Woodward, the defending Division II county champ, and won 7-3. Nolan hasn’t lost a Division II match at 160 pounds this season.

“It was the highlight of the night, Cody beating Woodward,” Lievano said. “You always like to see what you got against the best and Cody went right after him. He’ll see him again at counties probably and hopefully he can get the same result.”

Hampton Bays has a 1-4 dual-meet record this season, but faces the two weakest teams this week in Stony Brook and Smithtown Christian in their final two matches of the regular season. Lievano said he is trying to schedule something for this weekend to get his team more matches, since the Wheatley Duals earlier this season were canceled due to poor weather.

ON THE SCHEDULE: Wednesday, 1/29, at Stony Brook; Thursday, 1/30, vs. Smithtown Christian, 4 p.m.

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