Justin Paradiso got so caught up in the moment that he forgot to take his green anklet off. Rob Bennett couldn't wait to get rid of his red one, as he flung it behind him as he disgustedly walked off the mat.
Paradiso's green-anklet brethren from Massapequa got the better of their red-trimmed counterparts from MacArthur. The Chiefs earned a 34-15 win at Clarke last night to give them their first Class A Nassau Dual-Meet Tournament title since 1999, according to coach Joe Catalanotto.
"It was unbelievable because it's been a lot of years," the Massapequa coach said as he held his daughter. "These kids worked hard and deserved it."
In the third match of the night at 119 pounds, Paradiso hip tossed defending county runner-up Chris Perez with 47 seconds remaining in the third period to earn a 9-7 win. Right before the winning move, the wrestlers took a shot at the same time and butted heads, leaving Perez with a gash above his left eye.
After the match, Perez sat with an ice pack on his eye and was so disgusted that he punched the seat back of the empty folding chair next to him. On the other end, Paradiso was ambushed by his teammates, causing him to be forgetful of the anklet still on his leg. Said Paradiso, "I was too in the moment."
Paradiso took a 5-3 lead in the first period when he reversed Perez to his back. He was awarded a penalty point when Perez screamed in agony to stop the match with his back exposed.
"I didn't get discouraged," Paradiso said. "I just went for it and it worked."
Two matches later, Branden Renda headlocked Rob Bennett in the first period for a quick pin. Renda pumped both fists, while Bennett tossed aside his anklewear.
That was the way most of the match went for MacArthur, the two-time defending champs of the event.
"I've got to tip my cap to them," MacArthur coach Rob Paletta said. "They have a packed lineup, and we were a couple Generals short."
Indeed, MacArthur had to forfeit the 189- and 215-pound classes because they didn't have the manpower at those weights.
Massapequa (14-2) sealed the deal with back-to-back wins at 152 and 160. James Ondris' takedown was the difference in his 3-1 win at 152 over Tyler Dunne, and All-County wrestler, and Pat Morgan held on for a 10-5 win over Eric Anderson at 160.
Morgan was thrown to his back late in the match, but Anderson couldn't nail down the pin before the final whistle blew with Morgan maintaining the lead.
"All positives," Morgan said he was thinking as he struggled the last few seconds on his back. "I knew I could hold on."
He had the vocal support of his teammates at the end. With the Class A and B finals being run simultaneously on connecting mats, the teams shunned the makeshift benches in order to stand along the mats - thus creating an intimate environment for the grapplers.
Said Morgan: "Our team was fired up because they beat us pretty bad here last year. Beating MacArthur was the only way we wanted to win it."