ALBANY — It still tastes awful.
Sebastian Regis lost in overtime in a sudden victory format in last year’s state wrestling championship at 285 pounds at the MVP Arena. The East Islip junior thinks about that loss all the time. The disappointment drives him to get back into the final and walk away with the crown.
“I still have that bad taste and not a day goes by that I don’t think about losing the state title,” he said. “I’ve worked very hard to be in a position to win the state championship.”
The Newsday All-Long Island football player is on a record pace this season. He tied the school record for wins with his 9-3 victory over Vin Petzold of Plainedge in the quarterfinal round of the New York State Division I tournament Friday afternoon in the MVP Arena. He pinned junior Qymani Viera-Powell of Union-Endicott in 57 seconds in the first round.
The pin improved his record to 49-1 with 33 pins. He tied Jesse Dellavecchia’s school record for wins set in 2015.
“Sebastian is a fierce competitor,” said East Islip coach Mike Longobardi. “He’s super athletic. His loss last year has been a constant driver in his mission to complete the job this year and win that state title. He has really improved on his feet and become more of a wrestler than a bully this year.”
Regis will meet senior Will Hotaling of Colonie in a semifinal match Saturday morning. A win could send him into the Saturday night final against top-seeded junior Stephan Monchery of Middletown, who handed him his lone loss this year.
“He caught me in a body lock and pinned me at Eastern States,” said Regis, who has a 99-14 career record. “I made a mistake and he’s a good wrestler. I would like a shot at him in the final.”
Defending state champion Matt Marlow of Northport cruised into the semifinal round at 118 pounds with a win by technical fall and a first-period pin. Marlow improved to 39-0. The junior will meet senior Angel Banegas of Uniondale for the right to advance to the final.
Bellport seventh-grader Camryn Howard decisioned junior Landon Copley of Carthage, 4-2, in the round of 16. But Howard was knocked into the consolation bracket after a hard-fought overtime loss to senior Amarfio Reynolds of Niagara Falls, 3-2.
Longwood eighth-grader Anthony Lagala-Ryan, who took third in the Suffolk sectional tournament, shocked the 102-pound bracket when he upended second-seeded William Soto of Newburg, 10-8, in a quarterfinal bout.
“It was such a tough match,” Lagala-Ryan said. “I’m built for these situations. I got caught in a few bad situations but in the end, I figured it out.”
Lagala-Ryan scored two near-fall points late in the third period for the win.
Top-seeded Nick LaMorte of Rocky Point at 138 pounds advanced into the semifinal round with two pins. Hauppauge’s Connor Sheridan at 102, Frankie Volpe at 152 and Bellport’s Jaiden Green at 215 advanced with an impressive first day of wrestling. Suffolk moved seven wrestlers into the semifinal round. Suffolk and Nassau are tied for third in the team scoring with 88.5 points.