The challenge was to keep Central Islip’s Harrison Myrtyl from scoring a point in the final 22 seconds. And Copiague senior Nazir Roe totally understood that allowing a point would send his Suffolk Division I quarterfinal bout at 285 pounds into overtime Friday. Roe wasn’t allowing this opportunity to slip away.
Roe continued to control Myrtyl for the final seconds of his match and came away with a hard-fought 1-0 win, moving him into Sunday’s semifinal round of the Dr. Robert Fallot Memorial Suffolk County wrestling championships at Hofsta’s Mack Sports Complex.
Roe shook hands with Myrtyl, had his hand raised in victory, and enthusiastically jumped off the mat with the win that guarantees him an All-Suffolk finish in the top six. The road was never easy for the kid who started to wrestle in the eighth grade, but the finish will be rewarding.
“If it wasn’t for wrestling, I wouldn’t be able to cope with many other things in my life,” said the 6-foot, 224-pound Roe, talking about living with Asperger’s syndrome, which autismspeaks.org defines as a form of autism.
“The sport gives me confidence and helps me make friends. It’s taught me many lessons. The coaches are great and care about me even when things don’t come easily to me.”
“One can imagine the obstacles we face when teaching him,” coach Anthony Cipriano said. “It’s such satisfaction to see him compete and be successful. He doesn’t always have the significant difficulties in social interaction but it’s the non-verbal communication that can be very hard because he doesn’t understand. He’s a wonderful kid.”
Roe improved his record to 31-4 with 22 pins. He won the Suffolk III tournament and is the fourth seed in the tournament. He beat Matt Guercio of Kings Park, 2-1, in double overtime and then edged Myrtyl to advance and meet top-seeded Edwin Rubio of Glenn in Sunday’s semifinals.
“He couldn’t learn the inside trip, which would have been a great move for him,” Cipriano said. “But he turned to me and said I can’t process all this that fast, so we went to different techniques and moves. So the coaches are also learning from him.”
Roe was congratulated by a host of opponents and his Copiague teammates.
“I know if I hesitate on a move, I could lose,” said Roe, who is an honor student with a 3.27 GPA. “But I try to do my best and go as hard as I can every time I walk out there.”
That’s all a coach can ask for.
Eastport-South Manor’s unseeded Zach Redding pulled off one of the biggest wins of the first day of wrestling. Redding eliminated North Babylon’s top-seeded Tony Negron, 6-2, in a 99-pound quarterfinal round. Negron climbed back into the bout with a third-period takedown and cut the deficit to 3-2. But Redding (39-2), an eighth-grader, escaped and scored his final takedown off a counter for the final score.
“You live for these moments when you can go out there and make something big happen,” Eastport-South Manor coach Nick Garone said. “To beat the No. 1-seeded kid this early in the tournament is impressive.”
Redding joined three teammates in the semifinal round, including workout partner Adam Busiello, the No. 1 wrestler in the country at 106.
“He gets the best workout in the country every day in our room,” Garone said. “He gets to train with Busiello and there’s no one better than him.”
Busiello (42-0), the defending state champion at 99 pounds, turned in two second-period pins to advance into the semifinal round at 106.
East Islip’s Shane Garcia continued his pinning ways in the postseason. Trailing 4-1 with 26 seconds remaining in his 195-pound quarterfinal, Garcia headlocked Sachem North’s Donny Wetherbee to his back for the pin at 5:41. Garcia, who pinned four straight opponents to capture the Suffolk IV title, pinned both opponents in Friday’s action. His string of six consecutive pins will be in jeopardy in Saturday’s semifinal against top-seeded Christian Araneo of Ward Melville.
The top two seeds at 160 were eliminated. Patchogue-Medford’s unseeded Bobby Pease edged top-seeded Joe Puca of Huntington, 7-6, in the quarters. Pease will meet Max Sims of Lindenhurst in the semifinal. And the No. 2 seed, Michael Abidin of Hills East, lost in the first round to unseeded Joe Franzese of Glenn, 7-4. Franzese will meet Matt O’Brien of Ward Melville in the semis.