Connetquot's Sean McCabe, right, defeated Longwood's Cory Rasheed, 5-3, in...

Connetquot's Sean McCabe, right, defeated Longwood's Cory Rasheed, 5-3, in the final of the 112-pound weight class at the Suffolk Division I wrestling championships. (Feb. 14, 2011) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

An exhausted Sean McCabe found solitude in the open air behind the Indoor Sports Arena at Stony Brook University. McCabe had stepped from the confines of the arena and into the cooling comfort of a 35-degree night to soak in his greatest triumph.

McCabe, who was named most outstanding wrestler, sent the capacity crowd into a frenzy with a spectacular takedown 46 seconds into overtime to edge Longwood's Corey Rasheed, 5-3, to capture the 112-pound Suffolk County Division I wrestling championship Monday before 3,400 fans in Stony Brook.

As McCabe, only a junior, sucked in the cold air, the moment seized hold of his emotions, and tears rolled down his face. The accomplishment, the one all wrestlers dream about, was finally his.

"I stayed away from his long shot and got myself in a good position to score," McCabe said. "I thought I was patient in overtime. When I finally broke his grip, I got behind him and hooked his heel for the takedown and the win."

McCabe looked up at the official for confirmation that the title was his, before he released Rasheed. Connetquot which has won a league title in seven of the last eight years, crowned its first county champion since Joe Patrovich earned the 160-pound title in 1999.

"Three of the toughest kids I ever coached live in the same house," laughed Connetquot coach Bill Santoro, who has guided the Thunderbirds for the past 33 years. "His father Kevin was an All-County wrestler in 1982, and his brother James was All-County last year. It was like real good, better, and best."

Ward Melville eighth-grader Nick Piccininni beat Kings Park's Andrew Roden, 10-0, to open the championship round at 96 pounds. Piccininni is the first champion at Ward Melville since Cole Ferraro won the 285-pound county crown in 2000. He's also the first eighth-grader to win a county title in Suffolk Division I since Jesse Jantzen of Shoreham-Wading River earned the crown at 91 pounds in 1995.

Huntington senior Nigel McNeil earned his second county title with a 5-1 win over Central Islip's Giovanni Sanchez at 119 pounds. McNeil, the top ranked wrestler in the state, improved to 36-0 and extended his winning streak to 76 bouts.

Longwood's Nicky Hall said the pictures in the team wrestling room are constant reminders of the stars who have passed through those walls. His father, Nick, a two-time county champion in 1990-91 and a state champ in 1991, is one of them.

"All the pressure is gone, lifted completely off my shoulders," Hall said after he captured the 145-pound class with a 4-0 win over Sachem East's top-seeded Sean O'Malley. "I wanted to win so badly and have my name up there with his and the rest of the great Longwood wrestlers."

Longwood, the team champion with 191 points, crowned a second county champ when Patrick Jennings turned in a 5-0 win over Connetquot's Nick LoBue at 160. Jennings improved to 33-2 with his win over LoBue, who had 110 career wins.

Glenn also crowned three champs in James DeKrone at 130 pounds, Ken Meinsen at 135 and Joe Giaramita at 189 as the Knights finished second in the team scoring with 130 points.

In the Division II tournament, the persistence of Center Moriches heavyweight Connor Murphy paid off. The two-time county runner-up added a Suffolk title to his achievements when he edged Harrison DeSousa of Bayport-Blue Point, 1-0, to win the 285-pound crown.

"It was three years in the works," Murphy said. "I dedicated my season to a Suffolk police officer, John Baldwin, who died last year. He used to come and work out with me. He'd be proud."

Bayport-Blue Point scored a record 359.5 points, led by the tournament's most outstanding wrestler Jeff Purdy at 135 pounds. Purdy was one of six champions for the Phantoms. Babylon's Matt Rodriguez had the most pins in least amount of time with four in 3:16 at 135 pounds. And Mattituck's Thomas Filipowski was voted the champion of champions after winning the 160-pound crown.

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