By Westhampton Beach standards, this season was not a great one.
The Hurricanes brought six wrestlers to the Suffolk County Division I Tournament at Hofstra University on Friday and Sunday, a number that would be considered respectable—even good—for plenty of other teams. But for a program accustomed to having a noticeable presence at the big meet year in and year out, it was a change of pace.
Only one Hurricane wrestler—senior Jake Martin (220 pounds)—made it to the second day, and none finished in the top six in their weight class to earn All-County honors. It marked the first time in 21 years that the Hurricanes haven’t had at least one county place-winner, and the seven team points Westhampton Beach scored was also the lowest team total at counties in two decades.
Longtime head coach Paul Bass wasn’t necessarily disappointed with the way his six wrestlers competed at counties. On Sunday, Martin was knocked out in the second round of wrestlebacks—where a win would have guaranteed All-County honors—by eventual third-place finisher Devin Doran of William Floyd. Martin lost 6-0 to Doran. On Friday evening, Martin secured a trip back to Hofstra on Sunday by beating Alex Donnarumma of Hauppauge with a pin in 2:57. Martin started the tournament with an 11-1 loss to eventual champion Vin Feola of Walt Whitman.
In the week leading up to the League VI tournament, Martin was battling the flu, which caused him to drop more than 10 pounds, according to Bass. Martin weighed in at just 190 pounds on Friday, and on Sunday, he weighed more than 30 pounds less than Doran.
“He wrestled great,” Bass said of Martin. “He was giving away 35 pounds, and [Doran] is really good.”
Bass said that both Martin and another senior, 126-pounder Kyle Maddock, drew tough spots in their bracket and had to face some of the best competitors at their weights early on. “They were really just in bad spots,” he said. “They were a long shot to place anyway, but they were in bad spots.”
Maddock started the tournament with a 9-5 loss to Anthony Messina of Sachem East, who went on to finish third. Because Messina won his next match, Maddock made it into the wrestlebacks where he tangled with Nick Nieves of Newfield, losing 5-2 to the eventual fourth-place finisher.
“Kyle wrestled well, but he’s just in a ridiculous weight,” Bass said.
At 120 pounds, senior Esteban Garcia beat Pat Ortiz of Centereach 5-2 in his first match, before getting pinned in 52 seconds by eventual fifth-place finisher Tim Johnson of Harborfields. A win by Johnson in the next round put Garcia into the wrestlebacks, where he lost 5-2 to Jack Scurti of Half Hollow Hills East.
“I thought Esteban wrestled great,” Bass said. “He’s not one of those kids who wrestles all year round, but he improved a lot from last year and almost beat an All-County kid [Scurti].”
Junior Hunter Hulse (138) won his first round match, beating Nick Peragallo of Smithtown West, 6-0, before losing 6-2 to Hekmat Naeemi of Walt Whitman. Naeemi’s subsequent loss to eventual champion Jimmy Leach of Eastport South Manor meant that Hulse didn’t get a spot in the wrestlebacks. Senior Ryan Osborne (145) and seventh-grader Liam McIntyre (106) both lost their first-round matches.
Westhampton Beach says good-bye to six seniors—Martin, Maddock, Garcia, Jesse Mistretta, Aiden Kravitz and Ryan Osborne. But with a strong group of young wrestlers in the pipeline, Bass is hoping his team can get back to its usual form in the next few years.