On paper, the Westhampton Beach wrestling team was not supposed to beat Miller Place. So some might assume that head coach Paul Bass was satisfied with the 33-30 defeat his team suffered against the Panthers on Friday night.
But anyone familiar with the level of expectation Bass has bred into the program in his long tenure as coach, and with the way the Hurricanes have, in recent years, displayed a knack for knocking off teams they weren’t expected to beat, knows that Bass is not a fan of moral victories.
Bass was frustrated with his team’s inability to pull off the upset primarily because there was a handful of matches where he felt his wrestlers could have or should have either earned or failed to give up a few points, points that would have made the difference between a win and a loss. In recent years, the Hurricanes have won close matches because individuals win with a pin where only a decision was expected, or only lose by a decision rather than getting pinned. And in many cases, Hurricane wrestlers will win matches where they weren’t supposed to come out on top.
That simply didn’t happen, at least not enough, in Friday’s match with Miller Place.
“Some of my more experienced guys didn’t respond as well to the pressure,” Bass said.
The match, which started at 113 pounds, came down to the final bout, with Hurricane seventh-grader Liam McIntyre taking on Erik Schreck at 106 pounds. McIntyre lost, 7-2, but Bass emphasized that he was not disappointed with McIntyre’s effort.
“For a seventh-grader, being in that position, he wrestled really well,” Bass said. “Liam wrestled his heart out.”
At 220 pounds, Jake Martin beat Charles Leo 11-3 for a major decision, and at 285 pounds, first-year wrestler Jesse Mistretta, a senior, pinned Robert Leen in 58 seconds, which was an upset, according to Bass. Hurricane Dane Mendoza lost a 10-1 major decision to Seamus O’Connell at 99 pounds, but the wins by Martin and Mistretta set up the showdown in the final bout between McIntyre and Schreck.
Bass said he was happy with Martin and Mistretta, and not disappointed with Mendoza, as O’Connell is ranked in the top six in the county. Mendoza more than did his job, Bass said, by avoiding getting pinned or losing a major decision.
Ryan Osborne also did a nice job for the Hurricanes, pinning Jack Fischer at 145 pounds in 3:04, while Kyle Maddock, who was wrestling up a weight class at 132 pounds, won a 14-2 major decision over Jacob Simon.
Before taking on Miller Place, the Hurricanes beat last-place Amityville, 63-21, last Thursday. The match, which included six forfeits by Amityville, was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was postponed due to last week’s snowstorm. Bass said both he and Amityville’s coach were disappointed that Section XI required them to compete on Thursday, because the teams hadn’t wrestled in three days and both coaches felt their wrestlers were unprepared.
Section XI did not inform the schools until Thursday morning that they’d be wrestling that day, and the coaches had already agreed that Saturday would be a better make-up date for both of them. But Section XI rules state that when a game or match is postponed, it must be made up on the next available day, which was last Thursday.
The schedule change hurt the Warriors more, as they were forced to forfeit several weight classes because their wrestlers did not make weight. Big wins on the day for Westhampton Beach included Casey Hughes pinning Jamori Walrond in 3:38 at 113 pounds. Hughes, who typically wrestles at 106 pounds, was bumped up to fill in for usual 113-pound starter Danny Strebel, who is out with a broken hand.
Chris Chomicki pinned Deonte Wilson in 1:21 at 195 pounds, while McIntyre pinned Victor Reyes in 3:33 at 106 pounds. At 99 pounds, Mendoza edged Tyrese Thomas in overtime.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Friday, 1/31, at Patchogue/Medford (non-league), 6 p.m.; Saturday, 2/8, League VI Championships at Shoreham/Wading River, 9:30 a.m.