It was a bittersweet night for senior Jakob Restrepo and his Sachem East wrestling teammates.
The two-time defending Suffolk champion kicked off their League I schedule with a 51-19 victory over Longwood Friday night, which was dedicated to the memory of former East wrestler Paul DiIorio, who lost his two-year battle with cancer last month.
Brentwood defeated Sachem North, 64-9, in a concurrent dual meet as part of the night's memorial. "We wanted to put on a show for the family in memory of Paul," Restrepo said. "We wanted to wrestle hard and in every match and dominate."
Restrepo, a returning state finalist who just made his college commitment to Maryland last week, did his part by pinning the Lions' Marc Patten in 1:32.
"It's important to set an example for the guys but for the most part they're working hard on their own," Restrepo said. "We have a great group of guys that are trying to get better."
Sachem East (3-0, 1-0) coach Isaac Ramaswamy was pleased with how his top wrestlers performed, but took extra satisfaction in the way many of his younger wrestlers proved themselves in a tough environment.
"At this point in the season it's all just baby steps forward," Ramaswamy said. "You almost have to treat it like a ratchet -- you go forward and you have to make sure you don't slip backward. We had eight guys who were representing us on varsity for the first time."
Sachem East ran away on the scoreboard starting with a gutty overtime win by Tyler Murray at 106. Murray scored the winning point on an escape in the second extra period.
Bobby Fazio followed with a 15-0 technical fall and Fernando Costa picked up a pin in 3:51 to open the East lead to 30-0.
Sachem North got off to a quick start in the other dual meet when Anthony DiMatteo picked up a pin in under a minute at 220, but that was the highlight for North.
Carlos Aucancela, a leader on Brentwood (2-0), punctuated the Indians' effort with a dominant 20-2 technical fall at 113 pounds. "It's all the hard work that we put in," Aucancela said. "No one knows what we do inside that room -- it's crazy how much time and work and effort we put in."
It was only fitting on a night when the wrestling community honored one of its own. "Wresting goes beyond community and becomes family," Ramaswamy said. "It's a tight-nit sport and it's a special breed of kids who do it."