The hats Myles Buhner and his Riverhead teammates received after the match weren't symbolic of a League IV championship, but they might have as well have been.
After the Blue Waves' 49-18 win at home over previously undefeated West Babylon last night, Riverhead (4-0) now stands alone as the king of League IV wrestling.
Buhner and his compadres have known for a while the throne would be at stake in this match.
"That's the way we've been viewing it all week," Buhner said as he checked out his stylish new brimmed winter cap with a Riverhead logo on the front that the team recently obtained. "We've been hyping it all week in school trying to get a big crowd out here."
Buhner gave the fans something to cheer for in his 3-2 win over defending All-County performer Frank Speights at 171 pounds. Buhner earned a takedown with 11 seconds left in the first period, and took a 3-1 lead in the third when Speights chose to start neutral in an attempt to get the tying takedown. Buhner hung on for the one-point win despite sacrificing a point for stalling.
When asked what it was like to defeat a county-ranked wrestler, Buhner responded with a wide grin, saying, "It's fun."
He added: "I really just wanted to get a quick takedown and get off to a good start. It definitely gives you more confidence in yourself."
Buhner's victory was the second of Riverhead's three straight to start the match. Delon Richards exposed his back in the third period of his 189-pound match, but later scored on an escape and a takedown to secure a 7-3 win that put the Blue Waves ahead for good, 10-0. Said Riverhead coach Rocky Davey: "It was a great start."
John Wilkinson's pin at the optional 285-pound weight class pulled West Babylon (3-1) within one at 10-9. But at 96 pounds (also optional), West Babylon coach Vinny Innes took Steven Lee off the mat just 30 seconds into the bout, even though Lee had a 2-0 lead. Innes declined to elaborate on his reasoning other than to say, "I had to." The match was recorded as an injury default, though Lee didn't appear to be injured.
In a match between defending All-County wrestlers at 140 pounds, Riverhead's Edwin Perry scored on a first-period single-leg takedown and a third-period escape in a 3-1 win. Said Innes: "Riverhead was awesome and we were flat. We didn't even give them a challenge."