Early in the wrestling season many of the athletes are trying to get accustomed to a new weight class and get reacquainted with the demands of wrestling the top competition from other schools.
After weeks practicing in the wrestling room it was Sachem East that came out stronger in its non-league match against St. Anthony's Wednesday, coming away with a 49-25 victory in a battle of two teams with lofty expectations for the coming season.
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Sachem East, led by returning All-County wrestlers Conor O'Hara (138 pounds), Jackson Mordente (152) as well as sophomore Jake Restrepo (145), got off to a fast start. The Flaming Arrows won the first five matches, including three by pin.
"We take a team approach of having everybody do their best every time out," coach Sean O'Hara said. "Obviously we have some guys who on paper are ranked high, but whether it's our performance last year or where these guys are ranked on paper, it really doesn't mean too much. We just have to get out there and wrestle."
St. Anthony's got on the board after a pin by 106-pounder John Twomey over Mike Leonardo and drew closer with wins in the next three matches.
But the talented Sachem East wrestlers at 138, 145 and 152 pounds proved too strong for St. Anthony's. "We're kind of the core of the team and we're expected to come out and set an example for the other guys and set a tone for a meet," said Mordente, who won, 6-0, over Nick Alessandrini. O'Hara pinned Mike Senia in 3:52 and Restrepo won, 5-0, over Kevin Jackson.
Each wrestler was up one weight class from where they were projected to at this point in the season, something that O'Hara said is common early on.
"We're still trying to get guys in the right spot and we're not even concerned with where they wrestle as long as they go out there and do what they're capable of and push themselves.
"Conor, Jake, Jackson, they're all very capable wrestlers," O'Hara said. "They just have to keep working hard and get ready for the challenges ahead. Last year is over, we don't really take too much from that," he continued. "We're just trying to be better every time we wrestle."