Chris Gomez continued on his path toward a state wrestling title. The Patchogue-Medford senior has beaten all 31 opponents this season at 138 pounds. His championship win at the Eastern States Tournament in Sullivan County caught the attention of wrestlers in his weight class throughout the state.
To win the state crown, opponents will have to go through the top-seeded Gomez, who won the Suffolk title at 132 last year and finished fifth in the state.
Gomez added to his accomplishments this weekend when he captured his fifth straight Suffolk I crown with a win by technical fall over Longwood’s Wayne Lamont in the 138-pound final.
The win earned him a place in the record books as the second wrestler in Suffolk’s 62 years of league tournaments to win at least five League I crowns. Longwood’s Shakur Rasheed, now wrestling for Penn State, pounded his way to a Suffolk record six titles from 2009-2014.
Gomez, the top seed in this weekend’s Suffolk championships, was named Newsday’s Athlete of the Week. He said it was made more special by wrestling in front of his home crowd for the first time in a league tournament.
“It felt really special,” said Gomez, who has won a league title at five weight classes. “To win the four titles at other schools was great — but this one was really good. It was just very special to do it in front of my crowd and be acknowledged for a great achievement.”
Gomez improved to 179-14 in his five-year career.
“He’s just really tough in all positions, a very smart wrestler,” Patchogue-Medford coach Tom Anello said. “He’s relentless on top. He scores a lot of points on top between tilts and cradles. He’s always in good position.”
The next challenge for Patchogue-Medford’s all-time wins leader is the Suffolk Division I Tournament this weekend at Suffolk CCC-Brentwood.
In preparation for the event, Gomez has practiced twice a day all season. When the school’s team practice ends at 5:30 p.m., Gomez meets his father Felipe, who takes him to club and/or private workout sessions every night.
“My dad is a big reason for my success,” Gomez said.
Anello has seen Gomez wrestle in the KID program since the second grade. “This year more than any other he really believes in himself,” Anello said. “He thinks he’s going to win every match. He goes out there expecting to win and knows that he’s one of the best.
“He’s a great leader in the room because he has a great work ethic. The freshmen and sophomores are drawn to him because he is friendly and shows them new moves.”
Gomez has seen the progression in his skill set. This year, unlike any other, he believes it’s his to win.
“The last five years I’ve been maturing myself as a wrestler and working hard every year,” Gomez said. “I can just see it in my wrestling. The hard work pays off and it shows.”
With Melissa Kramer