This Miller Place-Islip rivalry has quite the flair for the dramatic. For the second straight year, the Suffolk League VI dual-meet title came down to the final bout of the season.
On Wednesday night it was decided in the 120-pound weight class. Miller Place, holding a four-point lead, sent senior James Alamia to the mat against Islip’s Mike DiPalma to try to win League VI outright.
Both wrestlers came out aggressively, to the delight of the packed house. Alamia got in deep on a single-leg takedown for a 2-0 lead 34 seconds into the bout. He rode that momentum into the second period, when he turned a reversal into a pin in 3:04 to give the host Panthers (6-0) a 42-32 win over Islip (5-1) and the league championship.
Alamia said there was no pressure going out on the mat with the title on the line. “It was the first time I wrestled last in the lineup, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” said Alamia, a two-time All-League selection. “All I thought about was not letting my team down.”
Alamia, holding a 4-0 lead, almost lost his position on DiPalma, who battled for control from the bottom. Instead, Alamia powered his way through DiPalma and put him to his back for the dramatic pin. Fans poured out of the stands and to the Miller Place bench to celebrate back-to-back league titles.
Last year, Miller Place also had some late magic in its final bout of the season to earn a share of the title. Sophomore Matt McNulty pinned at 195 pounds for the dual-meet win over Islip.
“It’s great when you earn the league title with a group of hard-working guys that care about each other,” said senior Joe Filippetti, who pinned Faizan Raheel in 2:39 at 285 pounds.
Although undersized at the weight class, Filippetti proved to be unflappable and waited for the right moment to hit the big move and put Raheel to his back. That gave Miller Place a 33-22 lead with four bouts remaining.
“That was one of the key wins,” Miller Place coach Matt Kaszubski said. “We had a few swing matches because there were so many lineup moves.”
Kaszubski pointed to 182 pounds, where senior Ivan Romero-Cisneros pinned Mike Migliorisi in 2:23. And to 138, where Ryan Grebe, in his first bout at the weight, won, 3-2, over Nick Sagrestano. Grebe nailed a two-point takedown with 51 seconds left in the third period to break a tie at 1.
“Islip did a good job moving their lineup around,” Kaszubski said. “And our guys came up with some huge wins.”