Huntington senior Christian St. John knows all the stories. He’s heard them from wrestling folks for years. His father, Jamie St. John, was one of the greatest wrestlers in Port Jefferson High School history. And folks like to remind him about his father’s success of two state titles, three Suffolk crowns and 117 wins.
Jamie St. John, now a coach for the storied Huntington High School program, is a local legend.
“It’s a big name to live up to,” Christian St. John said. “And it’s hard to live up to those expectations. But I can only be me and do everything I can to make him proud.”
Christian St. John, the fourth seed at 152 pounds, moved one step closer to his first Suffolk wrestling title at the Division I championships Saturday afternoon at the Island Federal Arena in Stony Brook University. He edged Brentwood’s fifth-seeded John De La Rosa, 6-4, in an exciting tiebreaker in the quarterfinal round. St. John used a takedown and back points to take a 6-2 lead with 17 seconds left before De La Rosa scored a reversal for the final margin.
“He was the strongest guy I’ve wrestled,” St. John said. “It’s a big win moving into the semifinal round.”
St. John will meet Anthony Marino of Kings Park in the semifinal round at Stony Brook University on Sunday at 9 a.m. The finals are scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
Marino advanced with a 3-1 win over Logan Williamson of Sachem North.
“My Dad is the best coach for me,” he said. “He’s been there and done that and he has great insight on what to do to be successful. He encourages me all the time to work harder and continue to improve.”
St. John, who will wrestle for SUNY-Cortland finished fifth in the Suffolk D-I tournament as a junior at 172 pounds. He started this season at 172 and then began shedding the weight to move down in weight class.
“We focused on our weight training and eating correctly,” Jamie St. John said. “He has terrific discipline and I’m super proud of him. He has taken on the responsibility of picking up the younger wrestlers on the team and dropping them off after long practices. He’s been a true leader.”
Christian St. John, at 5-8, 152 pounds, said the lighter weight poses a different set of challenges.
“The guys are much quicker at 152,” he said. “At 172 pounds, they’re more about brute strength and felt like they were a foot taller than me. I gradually moved down in weight and realized that as long as I hydrate properly and rehydrate after matches, I’m good to go. I definitely feel strong and not sucked out.”
The top two seeds in 11 of the 13 weight classes all moved into the semifinal round.
Bellport eighth-grader Camryn Howard (39-0) won his first round bout by first period pin in 1:06 and then turned in a win by technical fall over Islip's Max Haynes, 17-1, at 138 pounds. He was the second ever seventh grader to win the Division I Suffolk tournament last year. Jesse Jantzen earned the Suffolk title as a seventh grader in 1995.
At 152, Logan Williamson upset top-seeded Jack DiMaggio of Smithtown West, 3-1, in the first round. And at 215, Whitman’s Luis Navarro was forced from the tournament after he suffered a broken collarbone in the quarterfinal round. Navarro, leading 13-3 over Elijah Myers of North Babylon, was injured with 33 seconds remaining.
“He made a bad move and got hurt in the process,” Whitman coach Chris Cardella said. “It’s just so devastating. He’s a great kid and had a really good season.”
North Babylon led the team scoring with 106 points. Hauppauge has 70.5, Islip 67, Lindenhurst 64.5, Sachem North 59, Whitman 59, East Islip 57, Connetquot 52, Rocky Point 52, Northport 51.5.