Mike Marrero leads MacArthur wrestling over Mepham

MacArthur's Mike Marrero celebrates an emotional victory in MacArthur's Mike Marrero celebrates an emotional victory in the 152 pound class. (Jan. 16, 2013) Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

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Mike Marrero celebrated his pin with a reverberating roar, the MacArthur bench rose to its feet to join him, and his mom greeted him with an elated hug.

The Generals (5-0) already clinched the match a bout earlier, but when Marrero came from behind to pin Mepham's Louis Hernandez in 3:49 at 152 pounds, thus toppling a first-ranked state wrestler, a clear statement was made.

"We're going to do damage in the postseason, I guarantee it," Marrero said. "This year is going to be different . . . I'm not supposed to win that match."

Here's a few reasons why:

1. Hernandez had just won the 145-pound title at the Eastern States. 2. He defeated Marrero, 12-9, earlier this year. 3. Marrero once trailed 10-4.

But none of that mattered after Marrero scored a takedown to bring him to within four. After an out-of-bounds reset, he caught Hernandez's wrist, hit a roll-through tilt and navigated a pin. With the 57-18 victory, the Generals take first place in Conference 2A and hold their spot as the second-best team in Nassau.

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"It could have been 100-0, but I didn't care," Marrero said. "I was never going to stop. You don't really pin people in tilts, but I had this one really tight and I was squeezing, squeezing, and before I noticed, he was on his back."

MacArthur clinched the match on Sal Randazzo's 9-0 major decision over Matt Assael at 145. With one regular-season match left, the Generals are in prime position to challenge No. 1 Wantagh, the reigning state champions.

"This is a great confidence builder," coach Robert Paletta said. "We want to be the best in Nassau and the best in the state."

They'll have to topple a giant to get there, but Wednesday, the Generals proved capable.

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