MacArthur didn't let any doubt creep in after falling behind early to Massapequa in the final of the Nassau Division I dual meet wrestling championship Saturday.
That's because the Generals had just rallied back from an early deficit a few hours earlier to win their semifinal match.
When John Hegner secured a pin over Liam Mahoney with just over a second remaining in the first round of their match at 182 pounds the Generals capped a rally for a second time, coming back to defeat Massapequa, 46-24, at Clarke High School.
“We always believed in ourselves,” MacArthur coach Rob Paletta said. “We know we dug ourselves a little ditch but we knew we could climb back. We have the talent and the army behind us. We knew it would be a tough go but we stayed clear.”
After falling behind 18-9 in the semifinals against Manhasset the Generals reeled off five straight wins to pull ahead before winning 28-27.
“There was a little doubt but that happens,” senior Tommy Szilagyi said. “We knew we just had to keep our composure and wrestle through it and not worry about the score and just win the next match.”
Szilagyi returned to his home district after winning two straight catholic league state titles with St. Anthony’s.
“This was special,” Szilagyi said. “It’s a great feeling to come back and be with my home friends, it’s amazing. We always work out at clubs and stuff. Once I came back everything just worked so well, the chemistry was there.”
Szilagyi pinned Dan O’Callaghan in 5:21 at 152 pounds to help solidify the MacArthur lead at 30-21.
“Having him back was tremendous,” Paletta said. “We’ve known him since he was a little kid and I knew he would be a big part of this team and he went out and did his job today. We’re very thankful he’s back.”
MacArthur also got a boost from returning state finalist Killian Foy, who won his match and helped stop Massapequa's early momentum. He pinned Stephanos Hadoulis in 53 seconds at 113.
“Having success individually is one thing but doing it as a team is even better,” Foy said. “It feels great knowing that everyone in the room is putting in the work and it paid off. Now we just have to go do the job in Syracuse.
With the win the Generals earned a spot in Saturday’s dual meet state championship at SRC Arena in Syracuse.
“You always have some little doubts in the back of your mind but you have to stay positive,” Foy said. “You just have to stay positive and have faith in the team that you’ll get the job done and everyone will do their part.”
Knocking off last year's champion made it all the sweeter for MacArthur.
“We’re good friends with the Massapequa guys and there’s a lot of ex-Generals over there,” Paletta said. “It’s a little bittersweet to beat those guys. They’re always a tough team but to be the best you have to beat the best.”