Redemption was on the minds of many of the top wrestlers Suffolk League VI has to offer Saturday.
Miller Place’s James Alamia, Joe Bartolotto III and Glenn’s Damien Caffrey all placed second at last season’s League VI wrestling championships. At this year’s league championships at Miller Place High School, all three remembered that loss and used it as motivation.
“I just had a bad taste in my mouth,” Bartolotto said. “I couldn’t go out like that. I had to end on a good note.”
“Good” may be an understatement for Bartolotto, who won the Most Outstanding Wrestler picking up two pin victories and winning the 160-pound championship, 5-1, via decision. Bartolotto was determined not to repeat the results of last season’s final.
“I made sure to watch that match one last time and then put it behind me,” he said. “It’s senior year, last chance to do something.”
Miller Place also won the team championship with 241.5 points, edging Islip (230.5) and Glenn (205).
Alamia, who won all three of his matches at 120 pounds via pins, pushed himself in the offseason with last season’s loss in mind.
“It’s definitely the best feeling I’ve had in wrestling so far. All I wanted was this bracket,” said Alamia, holding the official 120-pound bracket that the champion gets to keep.
Caffrey said he gained 50 pounds from last season to get in better shape for wrestling and football. The results showed as he won the award for the most pins in the least amount of time (three pins in 2:39, including winning the 220-pound championship in 28 seconds.
“I was really confident,” Caffrey said. “I didn’t think anyone out there was going to beat me.”
Shoreham-Wading River’s John Carl Petretti (152), Islip’s Greg Hodulick (195) and Amityville’s Deonte Wilson (285) won by pins.
Miller Place’s Kyle Klein Jr (99) and James Rado (126), Islip’s Sean Peterson (106), Chris Delisle (113) and Austin Rodriguez (145) and Glenn’s Ryan Hallahan (132) won by decision. Miller Place’s Eric Schreck (138) and Glenn’s Joe Franzese (182) won by major decision and Glenn’s Zach Ancewicz (170) won by technical fall. It was Ancewicz’s first match in three weeks after suffering a knee injury, but he said he felt confident and a little nervous, but walked out of the Miller Place gym with his third league title.
“We have our league champs pictured in our room and I just thought it would be so cool to be up there three times,” Ancewicz said. “It was really motivating.”
With the county championships scheduled for Friday and Saturday, the league championships served as a confidence booster for the winners. But Bartolotto, who remembers placing in the county tournament as a sophomore but not as a junior, isn’t taking anything for granted.
“It’s pretty big but it’s a new thing every year. I learned that last year,” Bartolotto said. “What you do the years prior doesn’t mean anything. Once it comes down to it, it’s ‘Who’s going to tough it out? Who’s going to be the best?’ and that’s what I want to do. That’s the goal.”