ALBANY — It’s an all-Long Island semifinal round in the 110-pound weight class at the New York State Division I wrestling championships. All semifinal spots were filled by Long Island wrestlers, a feat that’s never been done before.
It’ll be Nassau versus Suffolk in both semifinal bouts when the action resumes Saturday morning at the MVP Arena in downtown Albany. Top-seeded Joe Manfredi of Herricks is the favorite at 110. He recorded a pin in 50 seconds and won by technical fall in 4:47 to advance.
Manfredi will meet Brentwood’s unseeded Jason Kwaak (37-1), who won by decision three times to reach the semifinal. Manfredi is looking to become the 14th wrestler in Nassau history to win 50 bouts in a single season. He is currently 49-0.
"It’s an amazing weight class where the depth of Long Island strength is on display," said Eduardo Ramirez, the director of athletics at Baldwin. "It’s always fun when Nassau meets Suffolk in a big bout. It’s juicy."
Wantagh’s unseeded Anthony Clem (40-5) and Hauppauge’s second seed Mikey Manta (40-1) will be in the other semifinal at 110. Clem came through the bracket with three wins and Manta won both bouts by shutout, 5-0 and 3-0.
Northport’s Matt Marlow (35-1), the most outstanding wrestler in the Suffolk Division I sectional, is the top seed at 118 and looked impressive in his first two bouts. Marlow had a pin in 27 seconds and earned a 7-0 quarterfinal win. He’ll meet Wantagh’s undefeated Joe Clem (41-0) in a semifinal. Clem also had a first period pin in 1:07 and a 2-0 shutout win.
Ward Melville’s Christian Lievano (37-3) is the 2 seed at 118 and he’ll meet Jaden Crumpler of Niagara Falls in the other semifinal, making it possible for consecutive weights to have Long Island finals.
But as much as Long Island dominated a few of the lower weight classes, there was some disappointment.
"We saw some guys we thought would finish well in the tournament get beat early," said John Mankowich, the Nassau wrestling chairman and director of athletics for Jericho schools. "This tournament is full of surprises. We had Baldwin’s Kwasi Bonsu in control of his 189-pound match and about to win. He got headlocked and pinned – it happens to the best of them. I know he was devastated. But he needs to come back mentally tough in the consolation rounds to get us some sectional points for the team title. We’re wrestling well as a section."
Bonsu (35-2) won his first wrestleback bout with a pin in 4:22, and then won his second wrestleback match.
"It’s a character check in the consolation rounds," Mankowich said. "It’s not easy. But getting to the podium and placing in the state is the goal of every wrestler."
The Catskills (Section IX) leads the team scoring with 100 points. Nassau is second with 79.5 and Suffolk has 75.
In the new scoring system, the sectional teams are only awarded points when the sectional champion wins. The second and third place qualifiers do not amass points for the sectional team score. Nassau moved five sectional champs into the semifinal round. Suffolk, which sits in third place, has six in the semis.
Sachem East senior Jared Weinhaus was knocked out of the tournament after he suffered a head injury in his 138-pound quarterfinal bout with MacArthur’s Killian Foy. The bout was stopped at 2:18 when the two slammed heads.
"He was symptomatic and will not be able to continue," said Dr. Anthony Donatelli, the tournament physician. "He took a very big shot to the head and did not pass the concussion protocol."
Lindenhurst senior Jake Trovato (31-2), who upset Bonsu, won his third bout against seventh seed Joe Marcello of Spencerport with a hard-fought 3-2 decision to reach the semis. East Islip sophomore Sebastian Regis won three bouts, including two by pin to move into the 285-pound semis. Regis is now 28-0.