BBP's Ryan Hake, C. Moriches' Michael Menzer pin down Suffolk titles for fourth time
The list of four-time Suffolk County Division II champions is short. The only name on it before this year's tournament was Mike Castellano of John Glenn.
Now, Ryan Hake of Bayport-Blue Point and Michael Menzer of Center Moriches have joined him. Hake won the title at 145 pounds yesterday after pinning Johnathan Song of Babylon in 1:16, and Menzer won a 5-3 decision over James Hoeg to win the 113-pound crown.
"It feels great -- I couldn't feel any better knowing that I won from ninth grade to twelfth grade consecutively," Hake said. "Tonight was exactly how I imagined it happening. I wanted to go out with a great match."
The honors didn't stop there. Hake -- named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler -- became part of Suffolk's only father-son duo to win that award. Hake's father Tom won two county championships for Sayville in 1977 and 1978 and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler after his second title. The Most Outstanding Wrestler award has been handed out at the conclusion of each county tournament since 1953.
Menzer, a senior, has also won a county championship every year of high school. He has competed at weight classes between 103 pounds and 113 throughout.
"This is just a step to get to the states," Menzer said. "It was fun in my ninth and tenth grade years to get to the counties, but last year I fell short at the states and this year I'm just going all out. I'm going to leave it all out there and going for that state title."
Not far behind Hake and Menzer is Tomasz Filipkowski of Mattituck. The 170-pound champion is 34-2 this season and has 124 wins, most in Mattituck history. This is his third consecutive county title. Mattituck won the team championship with 233.5 points.
"It's not really a goal that you go for but it just comes from all the hard work and dedication and busting it in the room every day," Filipkowski said. Filipkowski pinned his teammate Sal Loverde in 2:34 to secure his championship, something he didn't enjoy. "It was awful -- it's probably the worst thing you can imagine," he said. "You're in the room with him and you're friends with him and your family is friends with his family -- it's just a lot of pressure and weird."
The only thing probably worse than wrestling a friend would be wrestling your brother, but Austin and Hunter Hulse only do that in the wrestling room.
Hunter and Austin won county titles at 126 and 132 pounds, respectively. It was the second consecutive title for Hunter, a sophomore, and the first for senior Austin.
"It means everything," Austin said. "When you see your brother go out and win you want to wrestle that much harder."
The Hulses have been practicing together for years and it has paid off. "We've been wrestling since we were two years old and we're partners in the room," Hunter said.
Now both will strive toward a state championship but on this night they were reflective. "I really couldn't ask for anything more," Hunter said.