There is one sure thing that defending Suffolk Division II champion Anthony Mirando has learned in his five years of varsity wrestling. Take care of your body.
Mirando, a senior at John Glenn, has been on a five-year roller coaster of more ups than downs. But the one stitch that has slowed his ride toward a shot at a state title has been multiple knee injuries.
“The most important thing is to take care of your body, because the sport takes a toll on it,” said Mirando. “I had a few years of heartbreak, where injuries and surgeries were a major factor. You must be healthy to climb in this sport. This is the healthiest I’ve felt in years.”
Mirando is currently 23-1 this season, his only loss coming up two weight classes at 138 pounds. And even that loss came with a controversial stall call in the final three seconds of a 7-6 loss to Bellport’s Bobby John.
“I was disappointed because I had come back from a 5-2 third period deficit in the final minute,” he said. “My coaches were really upset with the call. You just know that you can't put yourself in that position to lose.”
Mirando celebrated his 100th varsity win at the Kris McDonald Islip Cup Duals last weekend. He pinned Sachem North freshman Anthony Caputo in 39 seconds at 126 pounds to reach the milestone.
“I’ve been moving up and down between 138, 132 and 126 pounds,” Mirando said. “The 100th win was such a big moment for me and my family because I’ve put so much time and effort into the sport.”
Mirando, a three-time Suffolk finalist, has a career record of 103-18, and said he’ll compete at 126 pounds in the county tournament.
He took second in the Suffolk Division II tournament in 2019 as an eighth-grader, when he was beaten in the final by Bayport-Blue Point's Max Gallagher, an eventual state champion. The other two semifinalists were Mount Sinai’s Brayden Fahrbach and Shoreham-Wading River’s Craig Jablonski.
“There was a ton of talent in our weight class,” Mirando said. “We all went on to do well.”
There was promise in that eighth-grade season and his 28-7 record. But injuries, the canceled season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Jazz Spalding of Honeoye Falls-Lima in the blood round of last year’s state tournament, has kept Mirando out of the state record books.
“That loss is 100% my motivation to get back to the state tournament,” Mirando said. “I think about it every day."
Girls wrestling continues to emerge
Newfield seventh-grader Juliana Hernandez won the 110-pound title at the 37th Kujan Brothers Tournament at William Floyd High School on Jan. 14. Hernandez became the first girl in Suffolk history to win a boys varsity wrestling tournament. She pinned Nicholas Barone of Floyd in 3:50 in the final.
Long Island also crowned a girls champion at the Eastern States Tournament at Sullivan Community College last weekend. Islip’s Mora Peterson pinned Minisink Valley's Sara Pauls in 4:59 at 107 pounds for the title.
There were five others Long Islanders who placed at the Eastern State. Alexandra Viera of Rocky Point placed second at 126 pounds, and Seaford’s Ashley Diaz took third place at 120. Three wrestlers finished fourth at the tournament: Gabrielle Severin of Bethpage at 100; Crisia Bonilla of Great Neck South at 126 and Talia Robles of Mepham at 132. Mepham placed third in team scoring with 33 points.