Joe Contrastano has been going up against some of the best the state has to offer for years and Saturday was no different for the Wheatley senior.
In a marquee matchup at Saturday's Ted Petersen wrestling tournament at Island Trees Middle School, Contrastano defeated Commack's Jake Eckerle, 8-5, to win the title at 120 pounds.
"It feels good to get the win today," Contrastano said. "I was going out to win every match because I have to beat the best to be the best.
Contrastano is a three-time Nassau D-II champion and Eckerle, who won a Suffolk title in D-I at 113 in 2018 also finished as a runner up at 120 last season.
"That doesn't matter to me at all," Contrastano said. "I've been taking out the best and I have to continue to do that to get on top and win a state championship. That's my ultimate goal."
Contrastano jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but found himself trailing 4-2 in the second period. An escape early in the third and two third period take downs helped him secure the win.
"I just need to keep pounding forward," Contrastano said. "I know I'm one of the best and I will continue to strive to be one of the best because I'm not at the top yet."
Another who is looking to get to the top is Freeport’s Myles Norris. The 285 pound state runner-up last season is looking to make sure he finishes as the best in his senior year.
Norris pinned Miguel Rivera of Mepham in 3:02 to win the title.
“I feel like I’m in great shape, the transition coming out of football is tough but you get used to it after four years of doing it.” Norris, also an all-Long Island lineman, said. “Playing football with those guys that are great and going down as legends helps me be better and build up my mentality.”
Norris’ teammate Neo Fearon also had an impressive performance. Starting in an out-bracket match, Fearon won five times, including four by pin to capture the title at 145. He knocked off top-seeded Davis Luckner of Chaminade in the semis and second seed Michael Waxman of Commack in the finals, 11-2.
Vincent Marchand of Locust Valley pulled off an unexpected victory, 5-4 at 126, if only because he was trailing by a point in the final seconds against Chaminade’s Michael Sanfilippo.
“I was down 4-3 and trying to get an escape,” Marchand said. “He dropped down to my leg and I got him and just tossed him for a five-point move at the buzzer.”
Commack’s Gavin Damasco, the Suffolk D-I runner up at 126 last season, ended each of his matches at 138 before the final buzzer on Saturday, coming away with four pins to win at 138. He pinned Michael Semeraro of Chaminade in 58 seconds in the final.
“I felt I wrestled pretty tough in the finals,” Damasco said. “I had a pretty tough semi too because I got taken down and that wasn’t good. I’m just hoping to wrestle tough until the state tournament.
Commack took the team title with 301 points. Freeport was second with 228 and Chaminade was third with 224.5 points.
“As a team I would love to make the dual meet county finals,” Damasco said. “I Hauppauge is tough this year but I think we can take them with our full lineup and I’d love to win an individual county final and go to states and tear it up.”
Matt Hegi of Mepham was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler after a 3-1 win in sudden victory at 195 over Nicholas Franco of Farmingdale.
99: Martin (Chaminade) fall 3:59 Bazylewicz (Farmingdale);
106: Meenaghan (Chaminade) fall 3:41 Najdek (Island Trees);
113: Milazzo (Commack) md 13-3 Romano (Island Trees);
120: Contrastano (Wheatley) dec 8-5 J. Ekerle (Commack);
126: Marchand (Locust Valley) dec 5-4 Sanfilippo (Chaminade);
132: DeNatale (Locust Valley) TF 15-0 Yat-Fernandez (Plainedge);
138: Demasco (Commack) fall 0:58 Semeraro (Chamiade);
145: Fearon (Freeport) md 11-2 Waxman (Commack);
152: Mancuso (Commack) dec 4-3 Aggugia (Planedge), 2 OT;
160: Figueroa (Freeport) dec 6-1 Stern (Chaminade);
170: Sheinman (Wheatley) md 15-5 Creedon (Locust Valley);
182: Solano (Freeport) fall 3:44 Griffin (Chaminade);
195: M. Hegi (Mepham) dec 3-1 Franco (Farmingdale), SV
220: R. Hegi (Mepham) fall :37 Goldman (Commack)
285: Norris (Freeport) fall 1:02 Rivera (Mepham)