Tom Flanagan wiped out a shaky start with an inspired finish. The Connetquot senior capped a brilliant season with a pin of Sachem North's Austin Gatti in 4:36 to claim the 195-pound title Saturday night at the Suffolk League II tournament in Northport.
Flanagan trailed 4-2 in the second period, but scored two takedowns before the pin early in the third period. The pin helped Connetquot score 277.5 points to win the school's 12th tournament title. Sachem North, the defending champion, was second with 201.5 points.
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"It feels really good to win the league dual meet and tournament titles," said Flanagan, who improved to 31-2. "We're heading into the county tournament in good shape."
Connetquot crowned four individual champions, including Tom Repalone (126), Gino Titone (145) and Greg Chery (152). The night belonged to the Thunderbirds but there were so many action-packed finals.
Whitman crowned three champions, including senior Joe Calderone, who won his fourth league title with a 43-second pin over Frank Gallante of Sachem North at 113. Calderone was named the tournament's most outstanding wrestler. Whitman senior Chris Olberding beat Connetquot freshman Jeff Browne, 6-3, at 160.
The 120-pound final pitted Jack Scurti of Half Hollow Hills East and Paul Capobianco of Northport. The wrestlers were tied after three periods. Scurti used an overtime takedown for the thrilling win and the title.
The excitement continued at 126 with a rematch of last week's Lindy-Connetquot dual meet for the League II title in which Repalone came back in the final seconds for a 5-4 win over Rocky Falsitta. Saturday night, Falsitta shook off a 2-0 deficit with a reversal before time expired in the first period and added a quick second-period takedown for a 4-2 lead.
Falsitta, while working on top for a cradle late in the second period, never locked his hands and Repalone worked his way through a funky looking cradle attempt and found himself on top of Falsitta for the shocking pin just before the second period horn.
"We were battling and he lost the cradle and I rolled through it and had leverage on him," Repalone said. "It was just another really tough win."
Connetquot's Chery shook off a vicious heel to the face to come back and beat Central Islip's Dameek Hall, 10-4. Chery was down after the unintentional blow to the jaw but rebounded to erase a 4-3 deficit with a dominant third period.
The feature bout of the tournament came at 170 pounds, where Northport's undefeated Ken Gallagher put his record on the line against once-beaten Allon Avgi of Connetquot. Gallagher gained a quick first-period takedown and kept Avgi on the defensive the entire bout for a solid 5-0 win and his first league title. He improved to 36-0 on the season.
"I like to get that first takedown and control the action," Gallagher said. "I thought I wrestled smart, stayed on my feet and kept him away from doing the things that he does best."
Gallagher also set the all-time wins record for Northport with his victory in the semifinal round. He is now 131-28 in his five-year career.