Before the final home league dual meet against Harborfields Wednesday night the Islip Buccaneers celebrated the past accomplishments of its seniors. After decisively beating the Tornadoes, 54-15, and staying undefeated in the league, the Buccaneers' attention turned to the potential of the next five weeks.
Islip (19-2, 5-0) is the defending Suffolk League V champion and a squad built on tradition. The Buccaneers proved their mettle early in the league season with a decisive 51-9 victory over Huntington and have continued to impress. Islip's only two blemishes this season came against Wantagh and Sachem East.
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"We're legit," Islip coach Joe Patrovich said. "We're a very, very good dual-meet team. Top to bottom we're pretty tough."
Patrovich is a qualified judge of talent -- the 2005 team was the state dual-meet champion and scored the most points ever at the county tournament.
"We've had teams that were clearly the best team in the state," Patrovich said. "We've had much more accomplished seniors but never a tighter group."
Islip pulled away from Harborfields (3-3) starting at 152 pounds. Andrew Werther secured a pin in 1:05 and Ronnie King had a pin in 1:11. After a 9-2 decision at 170 pounds by Troy Enoksen, Xavier Craig and Craig Hinrichs secured pins in under a minute at 182 and 195, respectively.
"We always know that we have each other's backs," said Matt Haag, who won, 6-1, over Tim Johnson at 113. "We're always pulling and making sure that if one person slacks in the slightest bit we have his back to make sure he can get back up."
So far this year Islip hasn't had to worry about anyone slacking. "We're a team that doesn't really have any holes," sophomore Bradley Wade, who won, 10-6 at 126, said. "There aren't any guys going out there that we're worried are going to lose or get pinned. We're very solid and tough. We wrestle for each other and just go out there and do what we have to do."
It makes Islip one of the most dangerous teams. "We've never been this solid from top to bottom," Patrovich said. "We won those championships with 10 or 12 great kids but now we have 15 kids that can all wrestle. It's really a unique team."