Host school Mepham edged out Patchogue/Medford to win the annual two-day Sprig Gardner Tournament in North Bellmore this past Saturday at Mepham High School.
The tournament was broken up with first and quarter round matches held Friday night at Calhoun High School and the semi-finals, wrestle backs and finals held on Saturday at Mepham.
Before the finals of the tournament, a ceremony hosted by National Wrestling Hall of Fame member Neil Duncan took place honoring Mepham wrestling alumni who are now members of the hall of fame. The members included Bob Bury, Ken Hunte, John Walter, George Munnich, Sprig Gardner and Roone Arledge, and referees Pascal Perri and Mark S. Piven.
A plaque was presented to the school with a list of hall of fame members who have contributed the most to Mepham wrestling including former coach Sprig Gardner, who the tournament is named after. Mepham's wrestling mats were also dedicated to the honored alumni.
"Mepham's history is unmatched on Long Island," Mepham head coach Rich Anderson said. "It is a nice symbolic gesture dedicating the mats to them."
The team went back and forth for the lead in total team points during the whole tournament, but eventually finished first with a total of 278 team points. Anderson was proud of the hard work his team showed throughout the whole tournament.
"Being match ready, aggressive, prepared to defend and being strong on our feet was our strength for us," Anderson said.
The team had five finalists in the tournament with two finishing first. Louis Hernendez, at 140, scored a 14-6 vicotry of South Side's James Rodriguez and Mike Paccione, at 140, defeated teammate Dan Tracy 12-1.
Overall Mepham put on a strong showing on their home mats with thirteen of their own placing in the tournament, the most of any team.
South Side High School finished at the bottom of the tournament, which was disappointing to head coach Jason Washington.
"We could of seen better, our guys need to step it up," Washington said.
Southside was without three of their starters for the tournament, which hurt their chances on the day, but they did have two bright spots with James Rodriguez, who took second at 140, and Steve Medi at 215.
"James is a student of the sport since birth," Washington said, "He knows what works for him and you know you can trust him".
South Side had six wrestlers place in the tournament. As a team they placed last with 77 team points.
Despite the low score for the team, Washington saw the tournament as a time for the team to learn. So while they may not be on top now, they hopefully will be at the end of the season.
The Lawrence Golden Tornadoes showed up in the eyes of their coach Dominick Delvecchio, as he was proud of the hard work the team put in.
"We battled for six minutes and won a lot of close matches," Delvecchio said.
Lawrence had two first-place finishers on the day with Pankil Chander at 112 and Jason Delgrosso in the final match of the day at 285. Pankil won his match with a pin in only a 1:09 in the first period.
Lawrence had nine wrestlers place in the tournament overall. As a team, they finished in fourth place with a total of 185 team points.
Half Hollow Hills East
Coach Bill Davey felt his team did very well for their first tournament.
"We had a lot of offense pushing the action, aggressive stuff," Davey said.
The team had three wrestlers in the finals. Anthony Addin at 130, Cory Jones at 119 and Deshawn Mcneil at 160. Addin and Jones both finished first for the team in their weight classes.
"They are tough competitive kids" Coach Davey said of his finalists. "They are wrestling smart matches".
Half Hollow Hills East had nine wrestlers place in the tournament. As a team, they finished in fifth place with 170.5 team points.
Kennedy finished the day in third place in total team points with 239.
Head coach Brian DeGaetano had mixed feelings about his team's performance on the day. He appreciated the effort his team gave, but was disappointed on the technical side of their wrestling.
"Technically we were sloppy but they were going hard for six minutes," DeGaetano said. "We are still not where we want to be but we are doing good. We are 50 percent of the way there I'd say"
Kennedy had three first-place finishers in Bobby Krug at 135 with a pin, Robert Person at 103, who won by decision 4-0, and John Lexemore at 152, who also won by decision 5-2 over teammate Mike Pizzurusso.
"They are students of the game and put in a lot of work in the off season," DeGaetano said.
Kennedy had seven wrestlers place in the tournament.
Calhoun while thin in numbers had good intensity and wrestled tough in the eyes of head coach Richard Bury. The team had two first place finishers in Jesse Bader at 160, who won by way of pin over Deshawn Moneil of Half Hollow Hills East, and Sam Gerinsky at 171, who won after his opponent James Sullivan was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct in the match.
Coach Bury credits their success to the hard work ethic both show everyday.
"Both are always working hard in practice and all year in the off season," Bury said.
Overall Calhoun had seven wrestlers place in the tournament. As a team, they finished eighth with 140.5 team points.
The Patchogue/Medford team finished second overall in the tournament. A key factor in the second-place finish was all of the points that their 171-pounder James Sullivan had taken away after he was disqualified in the finals for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Head coach Ralph Tubello was impressed with the other members of his team.
"Our young guys did real well," Tubello said. "We were in outstanding shape, we just need to be smart technically."
The team had two first-place finishers with Ben Scalzo at 125 and Joe Clemente at 215, and one second-place finisher with Bobby Pease at 96.
Overall the team had an impressive eleven members place in the tournament. They finished the tournament with a total of 253 team points.
The Clarke Rams had a rough day at Mepham as they finished in the middle of the pack.
They were able to get two members of their team into the finals with Mike Leonard at 130 and Austin Peraza at 189, but both ended up placing in second.
Overall for the Rams ended up with six members of their team placing in the tournament. They finished the tournament in sixth place with 159.5 team points.
Most Outstanding Wrestler
Anthony Addin of Half Hallow Hills East overwhelmingly earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler award for the tournament with three pins and an impressive 14-1 victory over Clarke's Mike Leonard in the finals. Addin won the tournament for the fourth year in a row winning in previous years at the 96, 112, and 119 weight classes. The four-time champion credited his technique and hard work in practice to his success at the tournament.
"I felt I trained 110 percent everyday and made my partner always push me, "Addin said. "I was always the smallest in my weight class but I credit my technique that makes me win."
Total Team ResultsPlace Team Points 1 Mepham 278 2 Patchogue/Medford 253 3 Kennedy 239 4 Lawrence 185 5 Half Hollow Hills East 170.5 6 Clarke 159.5 7 Babylon 155.5 8 Calhoun 140.5 9 Brooklyn Tech 126 10 South Side 77