Anthony Clem of Wantagh defeated Shane Dobbins (wearing red) from Plainedge...

Anthony Clem of Wantagh defeated Shane Dobbins (wearing red) from Plainedge in the Nassau Division I wrestling championships on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. Credit: James Messerschmidt

The Nassau Division I wrestling finals went just how Wantagh seniors and twin brothers Joe and Anthony Clem envisioned.

The finals started at 131 pounds, with Joe picking up his third straight county title, and ended with Anthony winning his second straight championship at 124 pounds Sunday at Hofstra.

Joe was taken down early by Plainedge’s Jake Nieto, but he quickly earned an escape and a takedown of his own before the first period ended. Joe entered the third period with a 4-2 lead and held it admirably. With 20 seconds left, he was thrown by Nieto, but was able to wiggle his way out to avoid the takedown.

“When he threw me at the end, I knew I had to get my hips back up and get out,” Joe said. “I thought we were going to have to go to overtime because there was short time left, but I was able to get out of it.”

Joe finished with a 4-2 decision to continue his dominant run in Nassau County. Now, the goal is to finally win a state title. Joe was the state runner-up at 118 pounds last year and took third place in 2022.

“I’ve been working on my cardio a lot, so I can go all three periods,” Joe said. “I feel that was my biggest issue. I wasn’t really able to wrestle all three periods at my full strength.”

Anthony faced a familiar opponent in Plainedge’s Shane Dobbins. When the two met in a dual meet on Jan. 10, Dobbins took an 8-4 decision. But between then and Sunday, Anthony earned two wins over Dobbins.

“That first match, I got turned a couple of times. Ever since that, I’ve worked a lot on being on bottom,” Anthony said. “I’ve just been working on bottom movement and pushing back. He hasn’t turned me since that match.”

Anthony took a 4-0 lead into the second period and he started each of the last two periods on the bottom. His extra work showed, as Dobbins just couldn’t get Anthony on his back in the 5-0 decision.

Wantagh senior Jesse Vanorden also won his second straight title with a 10-3 decision over Division’s Shane Moore at 152 pounds. Vanorden was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.

“The three of us have been friends forever, so it’s awesome. It shows the character of our team,” Anthony Clem said.

Plainedge won the team competition with 239.5 points and had four winners, including Vincent Petzold, who won his second straight title at 285 pounds.

Petzold was taken down by Brandon Goldstein (Bellmore-JFK) 30 seconds into the match, but earned an escape before taking Goldstein down and earning a pin in 1:35. Petzold pinned all five of his opponents in the tournament in a total of 7:18.

Luke Nieto (138), Kyle Carter (145) and Devin Downes (170) each won their first county title two weeks after Plainedge won the dual meet state championship. Downes was named the Champion of Champions.

“It just shows that we’re the best team in the state,” Petzold said. “Devin Downes is a great wrestler, Kyle Carter and Luke Nieto… we just all came together. We have a great group of wrestlers and it's awesome to be a part of it.”

Long Beach’s youth has yet to disappoint. Sophomore Dunia Sibomana-Rodriguez won his third straight county title and eighth-grader Ethan Andreula won his second consecutive crown.

Sibomana-Rodriguez won a tough 6-3 decision over Manhasset’s Will Russell at 108 pounds. Sibomana-Rodriguez worked hard for a third period pin, but Russell fought until the end and wouldn’t let him have it.

Andreula was tied with MacArthur’s Vincent Orandello entering the third period, but he was able to earn an escape with 1:01 left and hang on for a 3-2 decision at 101 pounds.

“Both of them are wise beyond their years,” Long Beach coach Ray Adams said. “They both have a very high wrestling IQ. The two guys they wrestled are great opponents, but we focus a lot on winning the tight matches and the strategy that goes with it.”

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