Not even a polar vortex can cool off the Hauppauge wrestling team.
A deep, talented Eagles squad opened its League IV schedule Wednesday night with a 49-17 victory over Deer Park (0-2).
"We have 12 of our 15 guys wrestling year round, and that's the key,'' coach Chris Messina said. "These kids are not afraid to work and they work year round. We start the first couple of days wrestling, when normally you spend it getting the guys ready to wrestle.''
Hauppauge has been dominant early in the season, including undefeated runs through the Center Moriches duals and the West Islip duals over the holidays.
Hauppauge, the defending league champion, got off to a hot start against Deer Park and never looked back. By the time Deer Park's Zach Lugo, himself a returning League IV champion, was able to edge out a 3-1 victory over Francisco Bisono at 152 pounds, the Eagles held a 26-7 lead.
Ben Tepperman set the tone in the first match by grinding out a 20-5 technical fall over Damien Rodriguez in 5:34 at 113 pounds. John Burns of Deer Park won a 10-2 major decision at 120 pounds over Mason Ezring, but the Falcons dropped the next four matches before Lugo was able to briefly stop the Eagles' momentum.
Hauppauge rolled out four consecutive wrestlers who made it at least as far as the championship match in the 2013 League IV tournament, including defending champion Chris Mauriello at 132 pounds. Mauriello secured a pin over James Niemiera in 1:11. Austin Munro preceded Mauriello with a technical fall over James Guidice in 5:43.
"We work the hardest on Long Island, maybe in New York State,'' Mauriello said. "That's why we're as good as we are.''
Ralph Cazzeta followed Mauriello with a 14-0 major decision over Steven Pitocco, and Connor Kelly kept the pressure on with a pin of Andrew Jacullo in 1:34. Dom Holder clinched the victory with a 9-3 decision over Frank Matos at 195 pounds.
In what was likely a preview of the League IV final at 99 and a potential County tournament matchup, Deer Park sophomore Tommy Cox scored a dramatic 3-1 victory over eighth- grader Jake Silverstein. The two met in last season's League IV semifinal, with Silverstein winning a 10-2 major decision.
Silverstein led 1-0 for the majority of the match, but Cox was able to tie the score with an escape 30 seconds into the third period. The match went to a third overtime before Cox was able to score another point with an escape, and he added the third point after a stall warning against Silverstein.
Justin Seay ended the meet with a 10-0 major decision for Hauppauge over Justin Perez at 106.
"Every guy really bought into the system,'' Mauriello said. "We all work hard -- we have no slackers on this team.''