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Nick Piccininni, Don Donnelly pace Ward Melville

Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville takes Tom Repalone

Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville takes Tom Repalone of Connetquot down in the 126 lb weight class. (Dec. 20, 2013) Credit: Bob Sorensen

It was another day in the office for Ward Melville junior Nick Piccininni on Friday night at Connetquot. His Ward Melville team was wrestling as part of a tri-meet hosted by the Thunderbirds and also attended by Smithtown West.

Piccininni, a two-time defending state champion for Ward Melville, talked before a tri-meet what he improved on during the offseason and how he plans to attack his quest for a third straight state championship.

"I think I got better on my feet and on top," he said. "I think I got way, way better on top."

Piccininni used dominant takedowns and a smothering top game to earn a 15-0 technical fall over Tom Repalone of Connetquot and a 21-4 tech fall over Nick Swanson from Smithtown West.

"All of the ninth-graders look to him for advice," junior Don Donnelly said. "In the room, he is pretty much a leader by example. You see him drilling that hard and it makes you want to drill that hard."

"Wrestling live with him every day, I know how hard he works. He's just really competitive."

Donnelly had an impressive showing himself, securing a pin in 4:19 over Smithtown West's Nick Peragallo and a 9-1 decision over John Lepark of Connetquot. Ward Melville defeated Smithtown West, 50-12.

"I just tried getting my shots off early," he said. "I felt really good going into the match and our team has looked pretty good so far."

Connetquot, which finished second in League II last season, beat Smithtown West, 73-0, and Ward Melville, 53-15.

Eddie Hart, a junior who won the League II championship at 113 pounds last season, helped lead Connetquot with victories over Andrew Demetri from Smithtown West and Ward Melville's Anthony Curti.

Senior Greg Chery, Connetquot's only returning County place-winner, had two pins and Allon Algi had a pin and a technical fall.

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