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Glenn knocks off state powers at U-E Duals

In came Glenn, hailing from a high school of just 616 students, looking to grapple with the big boys at the Union-Endicott Duals on Saturday.

There was Spencerport (Sec. V), the three-time defending champions of the event, and Chenango Forks (IV), a perennial top team that placed two in the state tournament last year — and both brought their swagger.

"They know they are really good teams," said Glenn coach T.J. Brocking. "They have that aura about them. You always hear about those schools."

It didn't matter. The Knights (6-0) beat both teams, which were tied for the top spot in the NYSSWA rankings, en route to the U-E Duals title, Long Island's first since Islip won the event in 2005.

"It was a goal we set at the end of last year," Brocking said of winning the tournament, which invites only the top 12 teams in the state. "For our first time [being] there it was exciting to beat their best teams."

Six Knights — Vinny Punzone (112), James Dekrone (125), Nick Meinsen (130), Nick Terdick (152), Mike Bosco (160) and Joe Giaramita (189) — went 4-0 on the day. Punzone led the way with four pins, while Terdick (the state runner-up at 140 pounds last season) knocked off Spencerport's Paul Morabito (sixth in the state at 145) in Glenn's 37-10 victory in the final. 

But it was Meinsen's 5-1 win over Casey LaNave in Glenn's 33-13 semifinal win over Chenango Forks that was the team's sweetest victory of the day. At last year's state tournament, LaNave pinned Meinsen in the quarterfinals, and Meinsen couldn't fight his way through wrestlebacks to place for a second straight year.

Said Brocking: "It was exciting for our guys to wrestle so good in important matches."

Glenn, the No. 2 team in our Big 10 and the defending Suffolk champion, has won 44 straight dual meets, which is two shy of the fifth longest unbeaten streak in Suffolk history behind Amityville. The Knights have also defeated Shoreham-Wading River and St. Anthony's in dual meets this season, and had 10 individual champions at the Bethpage Dad's Club Tournament on Dec. 12.

While Brocking knows he has at least two, three or even four wrestlers who can compete at the state tournament this year, he noted that the team thrives in dual meets because of its depth.

"A lot of people don't know about our 'no-name kids,' but those are the type of kids that can score at a county tournament," said Brocking, who is fighting a stomach bug and is unsure if he'll be able to coach the Knights in their match against East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson this afternoon. "Our practice room is extremely intense. Some of our wrestleoffs are more intense than the regular matches."

Which is not surprising based on this team's versatility. 

Though this most recent victory was a big one for the Knights, they'd much rather be called League VI, Suffolk County and maybe even New York State champions come the end of February.

Said Brocking: "I hope we can say that."

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