Xavier Pommells viewed Sunday as an exercise in patience.
The Uniondale senior was the final match in the Section VIII Division I championship at LIU Post, but said the result was more than worth the wait as he pinned Massapequa’s Mike Blando in 5:57 at 132 pounds. The victory, the only pin of the night, was Pommells’ second straight county title and sends him to the New York State tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany later this month.
“I knew I was capable of it,” Pommells said. “It was all about patience. I had to keep focused because this was grind time.”
Pommells and Blando had squared off earlier in the season with Blando coming out on top. It was a finish that lingered in Pommells’ mind throughout the year and one that Uniondale coach Tim Godoy believed helped drive him in the county championship.
“[Xavier] had a little extra tonight,” Godoy said. “He’s been training for this all year and he proved it here.”
Pommells took control of the match in the second period, jumping out to an 8-2 lead, but said he was still cautious of Blando. He bided his time throughout the third, not trying to take too many chances and waited for the opportune moment.
It came with three seconds left on the clock as Pommells held on for the pin and the title.
“I knew that he was dangerous in certain positions,” Pommells said. “I couldn't be greedy with the points. I had to take what I could when I saw it.”
Massapequa led the way in the team totals with 335 points and four first-place finishers. Wantagh placed second with 186.5 points and Uniondale was third with 163 points.
Senior Garrett Gibbons highlighted Massapequa’s strong night, holding on for an 8-7 victory over Joe Simons at 152 pounds. Gibbons was also named Most Outstanding Wrestler and Champion of Champions, capturing his first county title.
“This my last ride,” Gibbons said. “When I got here, I just wanted to let it all out.”
Freeport’s Lee Mauras also grabbed a bit of spotlight, recording a 13-4 major decision over Massapequa’s Jeremy Scutellaro at 145 pounds. Mauras, like Pommells, had wrestled his finals foe earlier in the year, taking on Scutellaro in a pair of close matches during the season.
“I was fired up,” Mauras said. “The last time I wrestled [Scutellaro] I wrestled badly and I knew had to work harder and set the pace.”
After their strong showings at counties, all the champs are ready to turn their attention to states, but Pommells said he’s determined to stay as patient as ever. He’s already ended one day with a title and, now, he’s got his sights set on ending his career with a state championship.
“It’s going to take a lot, but I know what I’ve got to do,” Pommells said. “I’m going to work hard and keep grinding.”
Division I Championship
99: Anthony Conetta (MASS) dec Killian Foy (MAC) (5-2) 106: Chase Liardi (MASS) mjr dec Jeremiah Echeverria (LB) (12-1) 113: Josiah Encarnacion (WANT) mjr dec Guerillmo Reyes (HICK) (12-3) 120: George Oroudjov (SYO) mjr dec Ben Rogers (WANT) (12-0) 126: Jake Schneider (MAC) mjr dec Matt Kong (BALD) (8-0) 132: Xavier Pommells (UN) pin Mike Blando (MASS) (5:57) 138: Kyle Althenn (MEP) dec Max Maquet (LB) (7-0) 145: Lee Mauras (FREE) mjr dec Jeremy Scutellaro (MASS) (13-4) 152: Garrett Gibbons (MASS) dec Joe Simmons (FARM) (8-7) 160: Kyle Mosher (SE) mjr dec Stephen Grabher (NS) 170: Matt Rogers (WAN) dec J.D. Moore (LD) (10-5) 182: Angelo Petrakis (MASS) dec Thomas Greenblatt (MASS) (7-0) 195: Matt Hegi (MEP) dec Nick Franco (FARM) (10-7) 220: Deaquan Staurt (ROOS) dec Jeremiah Funches (WEST) (6-4) 285: Obrien Dorceus (UNI) dec Myles Norris (FREE) (5-1)