The final round of the Nassau individual wrestling championships could be too big of a stage for the average seventh-grader.
Ethan Andreula is anything but.
The Long Beach seventh-grader defeated MacArthur freshman Vincent Orandello via 1-0 decision to claim the 102-pound title Sunday at Hofstra University.
Andreula scored an escape with 42 seconds left in the second period for the lone point of the match.
“I knew it would be a low-scoring match because [Orandello] is really good,” Andreula said. “Once I got out of his hold, I was just focused on keeping the lead.”
Andreula, who owns a 35-6 record this year, has been wrestling for more than himself this season. His mother, Alicia, passed away after a 10-month battle with cancer in January 2021.
“It means a lot. I really wanted to do it for my mom,” Andreula said.
“I know this was special for him,” said Long Beach coach Ray Adams, whose son Ray wrestles for Calhoun. “That was for her.”
Long Beach’s other young stud, freshman Dunia Sibomana-Rodriguez, secured his second straight county title. He earned a 14-2 major decision over Hewlett’s Carlos Salazar to win at 110 pounds.
Sibomana-Rodriguez led for most of the match and held a 10-2 lead with 18 seconds left, but wasn’t satisfied. He scored a takedown and tried to earn the fall but settled for two near fall points as time expired.
“He was already broken and I just wanted to get the six points for my team,” Sibomana-Rodriguez said.
As an eighth-grader, Sibomana-Rodriguez won the county and state title at 102 pounds.
“There’s not too many seventh and eighth graders that win county titles,” Adams said.
For Hewlett’s Ariel Waldman, he had one last chance to claim gold.
The senior had finished second twice, once as a freshman in 2020 and again last year when he lost in overtime to Wantagh’s Ryan Arbeit.
Waldman had a shot at redemption against Arbeit to determine the 132-pound title and made his presence felt from the start.
Waldman stunned Arbeit three times in the first period with a move he calls “blast double.” He shot his head into Arbeit’s chest to set up a double-legged takedown.
“I knew I was going to hit it on him. It’s been my move all year,” Waldman said. “I think that first takedown showed him that I had a real shot.”
Waldman (43-5) scored four total takedowns on his way to a 9-5 decision.
“He’s been in the program since elementary school,” coach Steve Jones said. “The second place finishes were devastating.”
“At the beginning of the season, I made my phone’s lock screen a page that says ‘County Champ.’ I looked at it every single day and I made it my goal,” Waldman said. “I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet.”
Wantagh won the team competition with a total of 253 points. Long Beach (208.5) took second and MacArthur (183.5) placed third.
Wantagh had four champions, including Joe Clem, who earned a 7-2 decision against defending state champion Joe Manfredi (Herricks) in the semifinals before defeating Calhoun’s Ray Adams via 3-0 decision for the 126-pound title.
Clem’s brother Anthony, Thomas Bonasera and Jesse Vanorden rounded out Wantagh’s winners.