Step onto the mat with Newsday's high school writers as they cover Long Island wrestling.
State championship wild card berths announced
The Division I wild card berths were announced for next Friday-Saturday's NYSPHSAA Championships at the Times-Union Center in Albany. Four wild cards in each weight-class are given to wrestlers throughout the state who failed to win their section. Some of the wild cards were obvious choices (see Gomez, Alex) while others, I'm sure, required more deliberation from the selection committee. So, without further adieu, here they are.
103- Mark Raghunandan, Long Beach. Ragunandan lost to teammate Krishna Sewkumar in the Nassau finals but will join him upstate.
112- Corey Rasheed, Longwood. He won't be the last Longwood grappler on this list.
119- Joe Barbato, Wantagh. Runner-up in one of Nassau's most competitive weight-classes.
125- Alex Gomez, Brentwood. Despite his third-place finish at Suffolk's, Gomez's body of work throughout the year earned him one of the coveted wild-cards. He had lost only one match entering the Suffolk tourney.
130- Casey Brice and Malik Rasheed, Longwood. Anybody noticing a trend?
135- Connor Bass, Westhampton Beach. Lost to Glenn's Ken Meisnen in Suffolk finals. But his 2010-11 campaign, which included wins over Meinsen and Deer Park's Zach Lugo, was more than enough to give him the extra spot.
145- Sean O'Malley, Sachem East and Matt Ross, Rocky Point.
160- Nick LoBue, Connetquot and Rich Lugo, Deer Park.
171- Juan Carlos Diaz, Levittown Division. Second only to Plainedge's Andrew Jones in Nassau.
189- Conor Wetzel, Massapequa- His Nassau finals loss to Wantagh's John Kavanagh was one of the tourney's best. He might make some noise upstate. Mt. Sinai's Frank Abbondanza will join Wetzel in Albany.
215- Andrew Danziger, East Meadow- Undefeated until losing to Wantagh's Tom Hall in the Nassau finals.
285- Joe Manna, Island Trees and Greg Martin, Kings Park. Both the Nassau and Suffolk runner-ups earn the nod.