ALBANY - He calls it the whirlybird. And 13-year-old seventh-graders at the state wrestling tournament can call their signature move whatever they want -- especially when the move wins a critical bout.
Eastport-South Manor's Adam Busiello went to the whirlybird for a surprise two-point takedown for a 3-2 second period lead in a 6-2 win over top-seeded and previously undefeated Kellan McKenna of New Hartford in the quarterfinal round of the state Division I wrestling tournament at the Times Union Center.
Busiello, who lost 3-0 to McKenna in the final of the Eastern State championships in January, had revenge on his mind. He erased a 2-0 deficit with an escape and then hit the move for the 3-2 lead. He escaped to open the third period to make it 4-2.
"I hit the key move to take the lead and then countered his last takedown attempt for the final 6-2 margin," said Busiello, who improved to 44-5. "I was psyched to get a wild-card entry into the tournament. And it was a chance to prove some people wrong after I lost in the Suffolk Tournament."
Busiello finished third in the Suffolk tournament and will meet champion Anthony Sparacio of North Babylon in Saturday's semifinal round at 9:30 a.m. The two have never wrestled. Sparacio (37-1) will be his school's first state place-winner since 2002.
"He's cool and we're friends," Busiello said. "But when we get on the mat none of that will matter anymore."
Busiello is guaranteed to become only the third seventh-grader in Long Island history to place in the state tournament. The two before him were four-time state champion Jesse Jantzen of Shoreham-Wading River and reigning state champion Shakur Rasheed (17-0) of Longwood.
All four of Long Island's defending state champions advanced to the semifinals. Wantagh's Kyle Quinn (42-3) earned two decisions and is on a collision course to meet state runner-up and Nassau champion Vito Arujau of Syosset in the finals. Quinn's only three losses this year came against Arujau (42-0).
Two-time state champion Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville won two bouts by technical fall as he ran his winning streak to 133 -- second longest in L.I. history. Piccininni (43-0) will meet St. Anthony's junior Ben Lamantia in the semis.
State champions Louis Hernandez (40-1) of Mepham and Rasheed were dominant on the first day of competition. Both wrestlers had a win by technical fall and a pin.
MacArthur's Justin Cooksey (45-5), who was a state runner-up as a sophomore in 2012 to Piccininni, failed to make weight at last year's Nassau qualifier, and missed the state tournament. He is back with a vengeance in his senior year winning two decisions to storm into the semifinal round.
Rocky Point's Tommy Dutton and Sachem East's Jakob Restrepo will meet in the semifinal in a rematch of the Suffolk 145-pound final won by Restrepo, 6-3. It is third time they'll meet this season. Restrepo edged Dutton 7-6 at the Eastern State championships.
Unseeded Vin Manna (38-5) of Island Trees beat No. 2 Edwin Rubio of Glenn, 3-1, in the third overtime and then dumped Sam Weinger of Washingtonville, 9-5. He leads 11 Nassau wrestlers into the semifinals. Suffolk has 15 semifinalists.