High School Wrestling

Step onto the mat with Newsday's high school writers as they cover Long Island wrestling.


Six downstate inductees into wrestling hall

Hauppauge High School wrestling head coach Chris Messina

Hauppauge High School wrestling head coach Chris Messina during the semifinal round of the 2011 Suffolk League V championships at Kings Park Middle School. (Feb. 5, 2011)

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame announced six downstate New York inductees as part of the 2012 class:

Michael Dergarbedian

Dergarbedian already had Nassau, Suffolk, New York and East Coast titles as a middle schooler. He wrestled for the University of Michigan on scholarship and placed in the Big 10 Championship several times. Dergarbedian, a lawyer, started the Teeth of the Dog Club at North Shore High School.

Howie Greenblatt

Greenblat wrestled at Cortland State, qualifying for for the Division III Nationals three times. His biggest accomplishments have come since 1986 as a coach, though, where his individual record is 300-60-1. In 22 years at MacArthur, he won seven Nassau tournament titles, eight Nassau dual meet titles and 17 conference titles. In 2001 and 2003, Greenblatt was honored as Coach of the Year.

Chris Messina

Messina has been a part of the Hauppauge program for 40 years, wrestling for the team in high school, and now sporting a 361-77 record as head coach. The Haupaugge team has been ranked in the state's top five, five times under Messina. In 2002, he was recognized as New York Wrestling Coach of the Year. He is being inducted to the Hall of Fame as a “Lifetime of Service” inductee.

Joseph Patrovich

Patrovich's coaching career began after a knee injury at C.W. Post cut his college football career short. Patrovich, who has been named coach of the year in both Nassau and Suffolk, has had teams have compete in the national championships.

William Santoro

Santoro has been a wrestling coach for 41 years. As coach of the Connetquot wrestling team for the past 34 years, Santoro has 277 wins and 13 league titles. He served as secretary for the Suffolk County Coaches Association for four years and has been a league representative for 10 years.

Gary Ventimiglia

Known by most in the wrestling world as “Venti,” Gary Ventimiglia wreslted for 21 years until his sudden death at 42. A wrestler for Island Trees High School from 1965-68, Venti attended Orange County Community College and then Lock Haven University, where he was a Pennsylvania champion. He coached three champions, and today, four of his former East Meadow wrestlers fund a scholarship in his name.

The six wrestlers will be honored on April 27 at the Melville Marriott Hotel. For information, you can visit www.foliw.com, or call 516-804-8676.