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Wrestler to watch: Wantagh's James Corbett

Wantagh's James Corbett, left, battles Giovanni Santiago of

Wantagh's James Corbett, left, battles Giovanni Santiago of Sachem North during the David Bloom Memorial Duals at Wantagh. Corbett won the 182-pound match by decision, 5-2. (Dec. 15, 2012) (Credit: James Escher)

James Corbett started the 2011-12 season as a strong 160-pound wrestler, but that didn’t last for long. Corbett (above, left) quickly outgrew that weight class and ended up at 182 pounds. He parlayed a second-place finish in the league into a fourth-place finish in Nassau.

“He just grew all of a sudden,” Wantagh coach Paul Gillespie said. “He put on like 15 pounds and at that point we put him up at 182. He did a good job in the county tournament as an undersized 182. Now he’s a full-blown 182.”

And that is a scary thought for the competition.

“His tenacity is great,” Gillespie said. “He keeps shooting and shooting — he’s always on offense. He doesn’t give the guy a chance to breathe and he’s always on top of you.”
He also brings that same hard-working mentality into the classroom. “He is a tireless worker,” Gillespie said. “Whatever he does — and that includes academics — he works hard at.”

Corbett, a senior, hopes to attend Brown next fall but right now he’s busy putting the rest of Long Island on notice. An early season win over defending Suffolk 182-pound champion Gio Santiago of Sachem North helped put Corbett atop the rankings.