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Cold Spring Harbor, Manhasset wrestle to fund ALS research

Manhasset's James Malvey controls Cold Spring Harbor's Ben

Manhasset's James Malvey controls Cold Spring Harbor's Ben Bruno during their 138-pound match at Manhassett High School on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Coaches Stephon Sair and Randel McCoy, childhood friends from Huntington Station, embraced before last night’s dual meet in Manhasset. The two enjoyed those youthful years as teammates playing football, basketball and wrestling. Both men went on to become mentors, teachers and coaches.

The battles on those playing fields years ago are nothing compared to the one they face together now. When Sair, the head coach for the Manhasset wrestling team, learned his longtime friend was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig disease), he was crushed. Only the resolve and the fight in McCoy could lift Sair’s spirits.

“He’s an amazing person, a lifelong friend, with such positivity and strength,” said Sair, a 2002 Huntington graduate and state wrestling champion. “I admire Randel. He was always a guy that found a way to come out on top. He’s comfortable building awareness in a public fight against ALS and that’s a selfless thing to do. I wanted to help in any way that I could.”

Sair reached out to Cold Spring Harbor coach Mike Ferrugiari and offered a home-and-home wrestling event as a fundraiser with all the proceeds going to ALS research. McCoy, an assistant coach at Cold Spring Harbor, was floored by the outpouring of support and the amount of people reaching out to join in his fight . The Manhasset gym was packed Thursday night.

“When you have a diagnosis that’s terminal how much fight can you have,” said McCoy, a 2003 Huntington graduate who starred in basketball and wrestling. “You’re only as strong as the people in your corner. My mental strength is at its peak because of all the love and the strength of the people all around me.”

Cold Spring Harbor and Manhasset packed the gym Thursday night for the Takedown ALS dual meet.

Jackson Polo decisioned Rishabh Jajoo, 10-5, at 113 pounds as Cold Spring Harbor and Manhasset tied, 33-33, in an exciting non-league dual meet. Cold Spring Harbor, the top ranked Division II team in the state, won the dual meet by criteria by winning eight of the 15 bouts.

Division I Manhasset (9-1) opened the meet with four consecutive wins, including three by pin, for a 21-0 lead. Sophomore Jack Roszko pinned Beau Hodgson in 31 seconds at 120 pounds and junior Jesse Armendariz pinned Duke Patonoster in 28 seconds at 126 for the quick 12-0 lead. Junior TJ Roszko added a pin in 2:22 over Sean McAuley at 132.

Cold Spring Harbor (10-4) bounced back with four straight wins between 145 and 170 pounds, the last one a 5-2 comeback win for Gaven Bell over Jack McClusker, to make the team score 21-15. It was back and forth from there.

“A great night for a wonderful cause,” Ferrugiari said.

A GoFundMe account was set up on Dec. 7 in McCoy’s name, “Help Randel Fight ALS.” There is already more than $64,000 donated.

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