Anthony Clem of Wantagh after winning the 118 pound match...

Anthony Clem of Wantagh after winning the 118 pound match in Nassau Division I championship. Credit: James Escher

Anthony Clem had just claimed the 118-pound Nassau Division I championship. So it was Joe Clem’s turn on the Hofstra mat at 126, trying to make it twin county wrestling titles for the Wantagh twins.

"His final started right after mine, so I’m putting my clothes on while I’m cheering for him,” Anthony said. “I always get super nervous for him. But I saw how he wrestled in the beginning of that day. I knew he was going to win that match.”

Joe indeed repeated as a champion last Sunday with a 3-0 decision over Ray Adams, the Calhoun wrestler he beat for the Nassau 118 title in 2022 and the one the junior lost to in January at the Eastern States Classic. Anthony took a 12-4 major decision over Uniondale’s Angel Banegas for his first county crown. 

Twin champs.

“It feels good winning it just for me, but even better winning it together,” Joe said.

Newsday’s Athletes of the Week are now focused on trying to win Division I titles at the state public school tournament, scheduled for next Friday and Saturday at MVP Arena in Albany, before competing at the nationals in Virginia next month.

“Those are two boys that you don’t bet against,” said coach Paul Gillespie, who also guided Wantagh to the Nassau team title.

Joe (44-5) was the national runner-up at 113 in the sophomore division last year. 

Wantagh’s Joe Clem, top, beats Long Beach’s Konnor Rosenzweig at 132...

Wantagh’s Joe Clem, top, beats Long Beach’s Konnor Rosenzweig at 132 pounds in Nassau Division I championship. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

He had finished third at 118 in the state tournament.

“I think I’m very capable of winning it,” Joe said.

Gillespie called Anthony (49-4), who placed fourth at 110 in the state tournament, “just spectacular the last couple of months.” Anthony is also feeling confident about his Albany trip.

“I think I’ve got a pretty good chance,” he said.

Joe is six minutes older than Anthony. It’s a playful, running theme between these 16-year-olds.

“He messes with me sometimes,” Anthony said. “He’s just saying that he’s the older brother all the time, just calling me his little brother. But he’s just joking around.”

“We’re very close,” Joe said. “We do everything together. We talk every day.” 

They’re identical 5-5 twins.

“But they’re not the same,” Gillespie said. “They’re two different kids. But they look the same. 

“They do have some of the same qualities. They’re both very tough. They both have great work ethic … They’re very good listeners … They’re very, very coachable young men, which makes them much better athletes, too.”

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