Don’t sleep on Jaylyn Butler. The Bay Shore senior is a pinning machine.
The fourth-seeded Butler at 195 pounds shocked the packed house at the Health, Sports and Education Center at Brentwood’s Suffolk County Community College not once, but twice in the opening rounds Saturday of the Suffolk County Division I wrestling championships.
Butler turned in two first-period pins to move into Sunday’s semifinal round against top-seeded senior Liam McIntyre of Westhampton.
“They were sleeping on me, those first two guys,” said Butler, who improved to 34-4 with 25 pins. “I’ve picked up the pace and I’m having a really good tournament. I guess I’m surprising some people.”
Butler pinned Alijah Carter of Eastport-South Manor in 1:05 in the first round. The win avenged a tough loss to Carter when he was pinned at the dual meet tournament earlier this season.
“He returned the favor with an under hook and a bear hug to the mat,” Bay Shore coach Alex Porcelli said. “He’s been aggressive and going after people and it works for him. He’s got a lot of confidence and I think he’s capable of beating anyone in the weight.”
The 6-3 Butler followed that win with a pin in 56 seconds over fifth-seeded Tyler Pelech of Longwood in the quarterfinal round. The pin of the highly regarded Pelech stunned the crowd.
“He’s long and strong,” Porcelli said. “And he’s put in the time, wrestling all year round. I’m not surprised that he’s in the county semifinals.”
Butler has been a role model for the younger wrestlers in the Bay Shore program. He juggles a strenuous workout schedule with his job as a sales associate at Victoria’s Secret and continues to get excellent grades.
He intends to enlist in the Marines after graduation.
“I love my job, the pay is really good,” Butler said. “I’m learning about retail sales and how to work with people and help them. But my future is to serve my country as a Marine.”
Butler has a steep mountain to climb Sunday. He’ll square off with one of Long Island’s top wrestlers for the right to advance to the 195-pound final. McIntyre, who is 31-0, with 21 pins, won the 182-pound title in Suffolk last year, and finished sixth in the state. He also had two first-period pins in the tournament.
“A lot of people were surprised today,” Butler said. “Two really good wins. I’ll be ready for the semi.”
Four-time state champion Adam Busiello of Eastport-South Manor had first-period falls in 52 and 55 seconds. Busiello is looking to become the first Suffolk wrestler to win five state championships. He leads a Sharks team that sits in second place with 92 points, just a point and a half behind Hauppauge for the team title.
Hauppauge, which moved seven wrestlers into the semifinal round, edged Eastport-South Manor for the Suffolk League V tournament crown by five points. All 15 of the top seeds in each weight class advanced to the semifinal round.
Newfield’s Hunter Hughes earned his 100th career win with a 10-2 victory over Albert DeJesus of Central Islip in a first-round bout at 145 pounds. He moved into the semifinal with a quarterfinal pin in 3:48 over Ben Hawthorne of Eastport-South Manor.