There’s a difference between hearing and listening. It is one of the key components that Ron Serrano uses to teach his wrestlers.
"You listen, you learn," Serrano said. "We are a very disciplined team. We had 55 guys in the room and we had no COVID issues in a month of working. We stayed away from parties and social gatherings and followed the government-issued safety protocols. And we go out there and win."
In a battle of two unbeaten programs, Massapequa bested Long Beach, 45-16, before an enthusiastic crowd Wednesday night in Massapequa.
And Serrano made it very clear who he thinks is the best wrestling team in the state.
"We are such a disciplined group and we feel we’re unquestionably better than every team in the state," he said. "I’m very proud of this team."
Massapequa improved to 6-0 and Long Beach fell to 5-1.
After the teams split the first four bouts, Ohio State-bound Chase Liardi broke a 10-10 tie with a first-period pin in 1:46 over Long Beach sophomore Mike Berube for a 16-10 lead.
"We had to get the momentum back and having a great crowd brings so much energy," said Liardi, who improved to 6-0. "I wanted to get the team fired up."
The middle of the Massapequa lineup helped it pull away after Long Beach drew within 16-13 on Jeremiah Echeverria’s 2-1 win over Cal Milano at 138.
Long Beach junior Wyatt Parker gained a first-period takedown for an early 2-0 lead on Alex Giuliani at 152 pounds before the two battled through a scoreless second period as the Marines threatened to tie the team score.
"We had an opportunity there in a tight bout," Long Beach coach Ray Adams said. "It was a tossup at that weight and both guys wrestled really well but you have to get off the bottom to win."
Giuliani gained an escape in the third period and used a takedown with 53 seconds left for a 3-2 win.
"I had to control him for a long time," Giuliani said. "I knew it was a key match."
Giuliani started a string of three consecutive Massapequa wins for a 31-13 lead. Luke Ciolino and Anthony Conetta put together back-to-back pins in the spurt.
Ciolino pinned Luke Anfossi in 1:23 at 152 pounds and Conetta (160) topped Yehuda Bitton in 1:30.
The dual-meet clincher came when Anthony DiGennaro outpointed Peter Navarette, 9-6, at 189 pounds for a 34-16 lead.
"We’re very tough at the top of the lineup with the bigger guys," Serrano said. "They’re very athletic and for such a shortened season our guys have put in the work and came here in incredible shape."