Unbeaten Nick LaMorte wins 138-pound Division I state wrestling title
ALBANY — Nick LaMorte grew up in the Rocky Point wrestling program. He started with head coach Darren Goldstein in the KID program and dreamed of winning a state championship.
He realized that goal Saturday night when he beat senior Jordan Brown of Monroe-Woodbury, 6-1, to capture the 138-pound Division I state wrestling title before a crowd of more than 5,000 in the MVP Arena.
LaMorte used a powerful body lock to extend his lead to 3-0 early in the third period and never looked back.
“I finished fourth in the state tournament last year and that really hit me on the long car ride home,” said LaMorte, who will wrestle at the University of Oklahoma. “I did everything in my power, everything I could control, to be my best and come back here to win it.”
LaMorte improved to 44-0 and the post bout embrace with Goldstein, who was overcome with emotion, was special.
“I’ve had him wrestling with me since he was four years old,” Goldstein said. “He grew up watching all the Rocky Point greats — all our state champions. He was running for miles when he was a kid to build endurance. He’s wrestled all over the country and gone to Russia to hone his skills. Nothing was stopping Nick this year.”
Brown was in deep on takedown attempts on three occasions early in the bout but could not penetrate the strong defense of LaMorte. The Eagles senior had an answer and successfully countered everything Brown threw at him.
“We wrestled at Eastern States and I knew I needed to neutralize his offense,” LaMorte said. “And I watched plenty of video of him and his tendencies. It was all worth it.”
LaMorte finished his career with a 174-31 record. The three-time Suffolk champion was warming up with eventual 152-pound state champion Frankie Volpe of Hauppauge.
“They wrestled each other for the Suffolk title in 2019,” Goldstein said. “And they became great friends. Nick would have joined the 200-win club at Rocky Point had he not lost the COVID season. This is exactly how I wanted to see him finish his career — on top.”
It was a night of redemption of East Islip’s junior heavyweight Sebastian Regis. He pinned top-seeded junior Stephan Monchery of Middletown in 3:39 for the title. Regis, who lost in overtime in last year’s 285-pound final, had lost only once this season. And that defeat came in a first period pin in 1:08 to Monchery at the Eastern States tournament.
“It was payback for Sebastian tonight,” said East Islip coach Mike Longobardi. “He wanted so badly to come back here and win the state tournament. And he wanted to wrestle Monchery in the final and prove he was the better wrestler. He really felt the loss at Eastern States was a fluke. He’s erased all that disappointment in a huge win.”
Longobardi said Regis poured his heart into becoming the next version of himself this season. He finished the season with a 51-1 record. “He’s the best heavyweight we’ve seen in a very long time from Long Island,” Longobardi said. “He’s an amazing athlete for a big man. We’re super proud of him.”
n Mat notes
Hauppauge head coach Chris Messina was honored before the finals as the 2022 Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Messina over a brilliant 42-year career at Hauppauge had 540 wins and five sectional championship teams. He’s also coached nine state champions . . . Wantagh coach Paul Gillespie had four state place winners in this year’s tournament. He now has 57 state place winners, eclipsing the state record of 53 set by Lou Giani from 1971-2008 . . . In the 102-pound Division I final, Hauppauge sophomore Connor Sheridan allowed an early takedown, battled back to within a point at 5-4, before falling to Cooper Merli of Newburgh, 8-4, Division I. Sheridan finished the season at 35-3 . . . Bellport’s Camryn Howard is only the second seventh grader to ever place in the state Division I tournament. He finished eighth at 126 pounds. Jesse Jantzen was the first seventh grader to place, taking third at 91 pounds in 1995.