ALBANY — Mattituck’s Jack Bokina paced back and forth watching his twin brother, Luke, wrestle.
It didn’t matter that Jack had his own state Division II wrestling championship match at 145 pounds in a few minutes. He was focused on his brother’s 132-pound bout at the Times Union Center on Saturday night.
Luke trailed Nicholas Young of Alexander by one point with only 14 seconds remaining in the third period.
“I was more nervous for his match,” Jack said, “than mine.”
But Luke countered a shot attempt, circled Young and earned two points and a thrilling 2-1 decision and a state title.
“It motivated me,” said Jack, who is one minute older than his brother. “I couldn’t let him be the only state champ in the house.”
He didn’t. Jack had an easier time in a solid 5-0 decision over Hunter Shaut from Central Valley Academy. Mattituck’s Bokina brothers became the first set of Long Island twins to win state titles in the same season according to Newsday records. Both brothers lost in their respective state title matches last season.
“It’s amazing,” said Luke, smiling. “Words can’t describe it.”
Jack added: “It’s crazy. We both worked our whole lives for this side-by-side. It’s cool we were able to do it at the same time.”
But they weren’t the only Suffolk wrestlers to capture a state Division II championship. Mount Sinai’s Mike Zarif, the fifth seed at 138, won in sudden victory, 6-4, when he used a Merkel for a takedown against the No. 3 seed Riley Gerber of Camden.
Not bad for Zarif, who only started wrestling varsity as a sophomore.
“I was dying on the mat,” Zarif said. “But once he [referee] gave me the two [points in sudden victory], I was so happy. It’s the best feeling of my life.”
The senior reflected on just how far he has come in three short years. “It’s not about when you start,” Zarif said. “It’s about how much work you do put in when you do start.”
Port Jefferson’s Vin Miceli, the No. 3 seed at 126, was taken down twice early and pinned in 1:33 by Schuylerville’s Orion Anderson, who won his third straight state title.
Center Moriches’ Jordan Titus, the top seed at 106, was down 1-0 in the second period when Honeoye Falls-Lima’s Anthony Noto escaped. Titus escaped himself in the third period to tie the score at 1. However, Titus was taken down in the final seconds and lost a tough 3-1 decision.
Suffolk placed fourth in the sectional team scoring with 158.5 points. But what many who follow Division II wrestling will talk about from this weekend are the Bokinas. The two started wrestling at the age of 7 and spent many nights grappling and training on a mat in their basement.
“We put a few holes in our walls,” said Jack with a chuckle.
According to the brothers, this was the first time in their six varsity seasons that they trained together. In the past, Luke and Jack had different partners.
“It’s iron sharpening iron,” Luke said. “Two good kids wrestling each other every day is going to make each other better.”
Not just better, but the best in the state.