Danny Murray, a two-time All-Suffolk performer, was looking for a quick start to his senior season at Brentwood. A successful performance at the Super 32 tournament in North Carolina would kick off his senior season just right.
"I was looking for some momentum into my senior season," said Murray of the October tournament in Greensboro. "It turned out very different. I was hitting a switch, trying to get out of the bottom position and I knew right away it was broken. I never felt pain like that in my life."
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Murray suffered a broken right arm in his very first match at Super 32 and that looked like it could derail his senior campaign.
"He was heartbroken," said Brentwood coach Ralph Napolitano. "It's been tough for him mentally. He rehabbed his butt off and looks great. But there's still some reluctance to use certain moves. And he'll have to get past that to win the Suffolk title."
Once the cast was removed from Murray's elbow, he went through an extensive rehabilitation with Brian Becker of Excel Therapy in Babylon.
"He went through rehab three days a week under our direction and then went home and continued exercises at home on his own," Becker said. "He had no time and he wanted to get back the mat. To expedite his recovery he was working seven days a week."
It would have been easy for Murray to walk away in his senior year. Instead, the wrestler who finished fourth in Suffolk two straight years has come back with a vengeance. He is currently 15-0, winning last night's 113-pound title with a 7-2 win over Jason Shlonsky of Mount Sinai at the 27th Annual Rocky Gilmore Memorial Tournament in East Islip.
"I wear a protective sleeve but I don't think about the elbow anymore," Murray said. "Now, it's all about moving forward and winning."
East Islip senior Dennis Ferro pinned all three of his opponents to win the 152-pound crown. Ferro, who was third in Suffolk last year, improved to 20-0 with 16 pins when he matted Brentwood's Jamie Rivas in 1:45.
The most anticipated final came at 120 pounds. East Islip junior Jesse Dellavecchia, who finished fourth in the state tournament, and senior Tim Johnson of Harborfields, a two-time All-Suffolk honoree, split their two bouts two years ago. They did not meet last year.
Saturday night, Dellavecchia used a takedown in all three periods and a second period reversal to win an 8-3 decision over Johnson. Dellavecchia became the third wrestler in the 27-year history of the tournament to win four titles.