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Barbato helps Wantagh take Duals B wrestling title

First came the pretzels, then the granola bar. With so much time to spare after his match, Wantagh's Joe Barbato decided to have a snack.

He finished his work quickly, pinning Plainedge's Chris Nigro in 1:26 at 103 pounds in the first match last night. Then he sat back and watched as the rest of the Warriors capped their third straight Nassau Duals Class B title with a 48-18 win over Plainedge at Clarke.

"It's always good to indulge after the match," a still-hungry Barbato said. "I like starting things off, because it gives us momentum and gets the team rolling."

That ball kept rolling until Dan Spurgeon put Plainedge (18-10) on the board with a first-period pin at 145 pounds. But Wantagh's Chris Loew answered with a pin in the next bout. Loew bounced back from the semifinal round, when he was the only Warrior to lose in a win over Clarke. "I used it as motivation," he said of his loss in the previous round. "You've got to totally clean the slate."

Loew emphatically wiped away the bad memories, as he threw Tyler Poli to the mat and stuck him with 8.2 seconds left on the clock. After the match, he was greeted with handshakes from his father, and brother Matt Loew, who pinned his opponent at 189.

Wantagh (23-5) ended its match quickly, so the team had plenty of time to watch the finish of the Class A final on the adjacent mat.

Co-coach Paul Gillespie said after the match that he wished his Warriors had gotten a crack at the large-school champ. His team defeated Plainedge, 51-6, on Jan. 15, so the only real coaching he had to do was making sure his team remained focus. "We'd like to be in the other division because we want a shot to be the best team in the county," Gillespie said.

Barbato was content to finish the day early. Said the junior: "I like watching the guys and cheering them on."

He's certainly had enough time to practice it.

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