Whether the effort came from a familiar face such as Jon Gomez, or a rising star such as Gage DeNatale, the Nassau County Division II wrestling championships ultimately transformed into the Locust Valley Show.
The Falcons made their way to Cold Spring Harbor on Saturday night and went home with their sixth consecutive team county title in hand.
“We make it a goal every year that we want to win the county tournament,” coach Joseph Enea said. “And for the past six we’ve been able to do that.”
Seaford placed second, while host Cold Spring Harbor finished third.
Seniors Hunter Dusold (132) and Gomez (126) led the way for Locust Valley, earning their sixth and fourth county titles, respectively. After falling short of winning state titles last season, they’ll seek redemption in Albany Feb. 24-25.
“This took a lot of hard work,” Gomez said. “I have to thank all my coaches and my dad for pushing me all these years.”
Names like Dusold and Gomez are synonymous with the dominance that’s characterized Locust Valley wrestling over the years. But it was two freshmen who stole the show during the early portion of the finals.
Vito Rodriguez (99) and DeNatale successfully locked up their first-ever county championships after picking up impressive victories.
In fact, DeNatale was so impressive in his performance that he was named both the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler and Champion of Champions.
“I just kept scoring on my feet,” DeNatale said. Rodriguez said he used constant movement to come away with a win.
“I’m really pumped to go upstate and get a chance to compete, and maybe win a state title,” DeNatale said.
“States in your senior year is the climax of the season,” Gomez said. “I’ve been working hard all year to go out there and achieve the final goal.”
Enea said he hopes to continue this winning roll upstate.
Locust Valley tallied a total of six victories on the night, as Jack Ward (138) and Bailey O’Brien (160) were also victorious.
Ward narrowly held on to win 11-10 over Oyster Bay’s Jack Weiboldt, as Weiboldt nearly forced him to tap out in the last 10 seconds of their bout.
Joe Constrastano (Carle Place/Wheatley, 106) ,Keith Cassar (Oyster Bay, 113), Christian Tartaglia (Cold Spring Harbor, 145), Austin Carmen (Clarke, 152), Shawn Mosca (Carle Place/Wheatley, 170), John DeRidder (Carle Place/Wheatley, 182), Anthony Buffolino (Clarke, 195), Tareq Ibrahim (Clarke, 220) and Joseph Libretti (Cold Spring Harbor, 285) also earned trips to the state championships with winning efforts.
But behind the efforts of Gomez, DeNatale and company, this was the Locust Valley Show.