One, two, three. One, two, three. Brice O’Hara smacked his legs from top to bottom before stepping onto the wrestling mat where he repeated the motion in front of his next opponent to loosen up.
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Then: one, two, three. Three periods and he had another win to add to Sachem East’s first-place performance at the 10-team Joe Davidson Memorial Duals, where the team faced off against eight other schools in two days at Sachem North and came out with a 7-1 record.
“I try to stay in the best position I can, to pull it out and be tough,” O’Hara said. “I do whatever I can to not get pinned.”
O’Hara wriggled himself out of would-be pins twice to take control of Miller Place’s David Selg and even put himself in a position to never be close to a pin during that third period of his second match of the day.
His third bout of the day, against Syosset’s Mark Mansa, wasn’t as straightforward as the sophomore dealt with a move he said he wasn’t familiar with. But in the end, the result was the same: a win — this time a 2-0 decision — in the clinching match for the Flaming Arrows.
O’Hara went 6-1 for the two-day tournament in the 106-pound weight class, only losing against defending state champion Adam Busiello of Eastport-South Manor. He defeated Islip’s Chris Delisle in a 6-4 decision, Farmingdale’s Joseph Simons with a fall in 5:49, Deer Park’s Edon Burani with a fall in 1:53, MacArthur’s Benjamin Rosen with a 2:24 fall, Selg in the 6-2 decision and Mansa in a 2-0 decision. He fell in 1:33 against Busiello.
Coach Isaac Ramaswamy credited three wrestlers in particular with providing consistency during the tournament to bring a young and rebuilding Sachem East to first place: O’Hara, Tyler Murray and Ian Carroll. Murray went 6-2 and Carroll went 6-1.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster,” Carroll said, noting the young team.
Islip also finished at 7-1, but in second place because of a loss to Sachem East. MacArthur came in third at 6-2. Busiello went 7-0 with three wins coming by forfeit.
But the day belonged to Sachem East and Ramaswamy, who received recognition for being inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2014 with a plaque presentation before the competition’s second day.
Said Ramaswamy of the win, “If nothing else, it lets you know you’re heading in the right direction.”