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Salute to Long Island's 2014 state wrestling champions

Portrait of the 2014 Newsday high school all-star

Portrait of the 2014 Newsday high school all-star wrestling team. Back row, left to right: Chris Mauriello, Mark Tracy, Shakur (Corey) Rasheed, James O'Hagan, Steven Schneider, Louis Hernandez. Front Row, left to right: Isaac Ramaswamy, Matteo DeVincenzo, Jacori Teemer, Hunter Dusold, Vito Arujau, Nick Piccininni, Travis Passaro, and Sean O'Hara. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

TRAVIS PASSARO, Eastport-SM, 126 pounds

In one of the more dramatic finishes to the state tournament, Passaro, a senior, nailed a reversal with seven seconds remaining and rode Alex Delacruz of Ossining to the final buzzer for a stirring come-from-behind win and the 126-pound state title. He finished 50-0 this season and has a lifetime mark of 207-22. "When my brother won the states two years ago it was all I could think about," said Passaro of his brother Maverick, who won the DIvision I 126-pound state title in 2012. "I wanted to be that guy -- that state champion." Passaro is only the fourth wrestler from Long Island to win 50 or matches in a season. The four-time all-Suffolk wrestler finished third in the state last season.

HUNTER DUSOLD, Locust Valley, 113 pounds

The freshman entered the state tournament as a three-time Nassau champion and a key cog for a Locust Valley team that won 21 dual meets. Dusold went out and led the Falcons to the Division II state team title and captured the 113-pound Division II state championship -- becoming the school's first state champ since Rich Pidgeon in 1985. "Hunter was an unseeded wrestler [going into the state meet]," Locust Valley coach Joe Enea said. "There's not a harder worker in our room and he wrestles multiple practices a day all year round. The kid is just dedicated and I'm so proud of him." Dusold's run to the state title included knocking off third-seeded Joe Nelson of Oxford, second-seeded Tito Colom of Dunkirk and defending state champion Derek Spann of Adirondack.

Dusold finished the season with a 39-7 record.

MATTEO DeVINCENZO, Port Jefferson, 106 pounds

DeVincenzo came within a point of capturing a Division II state wrestling championship as a freshman at 99 pounds in 2013. As a 106-pound sophomore, DeVincenzo got the job done, capping a 36-1 season with a 9-4 decision over Luke Yankloski of Wayne. It was the first state title for Port Jefferson since Jamie St. John captured a state crown at 145 pounds in 1989 and the first ever state championship for a Division II wrestler from Long Island. DeVincenzo's career record is 71-3.

"There's always going to be obstacles and opponents that want to take it away from you," Port Jefferson coach Mike Maletta said. "He was tenacious about going to get it. He just gained more and more confidence in his ability and now he's a state champ." DeVincenzo wrestled his best in the postseason, including four straight wins in the state tournament.

JACORI TEEMER, Long Beach, 99 pounds

Jacori Teemer earned his spot in Long Island wrestling lore when he became the first eighth-grader to win a state wrestling championship. The historic win, the first in 52 years of the state tournament, gives Teemer the opportunity to do what no other wrestler before him could accomplish: win five state titles. Jesse Jantzen of Shoreham-Wading River is the only Long Islander to win four state crowns. "It's a special accomplishement," said Teemer, who attends Long Beach Middle School. "I will continue to train as if I'm trying to win my first state title.

This is just the start. Some of my opponents were seniors and much stronger than me. It's not going to get any easier so I'll keep working and gettign better." Teemer used an ankle pick and a cradle to pin Adam Busiello of Eastport-South Manor in the state 99-pound championship bout.

NICK PICCININNI, Ward Melville, 120 pounds

The junior became the third Suffolk wrestler in the 52-year history of the New York State tournament to win three state championships. John Lange of Longwood earned titles from 1992-94 and Shoreham-Wading River's Jesse Jantzen won from 1997-2000. Piccininni capped a 45-0 season with a 3-0 win over East Islip junior Jesse Dellavecchia in the Division I 120-pound final. He extended his winning streak to 133 bouts and his overall career record is 183-3. "There is no more pressure," Piccininni said. "There is staying focused and continuing to meet expectations and never look past anyone." Piccininni has won four straight League I and Suffolk titles and hasn't lost since the eighth grade, when he was beaten in the semifinals of the state tournament. He was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the 2013 state meet.

LOUIS HERNANDEZ, Mepham, 152 pounds

Hernandez dominated his weight class all season. An illegal slam at the Eastern States Tournament cost him the bout and an undefeated season but he rebounded from that setback to crush the opposition the rest of the way. Hernandez earned his second state title with a march through the 152-pound bracket, culminating with an 8-4 win over second-seeded Anthony Deprez of Hilton. "I wish the slam never happened and I finished undefeated but I couldn't change what happened," Hernandez said. "I'm aggressive and that's my style. That's the way I do work. I get after people and push the action. That's what I did in the final. I went after him." Hernandez finished his senior season 42-1 (147-15). Considered by many to be one of Long Island's top technicians, Hernandez is Mepham's first state champion since Mike Arena won at 138 pounds in 1984.

VITO ARUJAU, Syosset, 113 pounds

Arujau won the title with a 4-1 victory over Wantagh's Kyle Quinn, the 2013 state champ at 106 pounds.

The freshman's state title helped remove some of the sting -- but not the burning memory -- from his overtime loss in the 99-pound state final last year as an eighth-grader.

"That one loss will fuel me throughout my final years of high school," said Arujau, who finished this season with a 44-0 record and is 90-1 in his career. "I never want to feel like that again." Arujau is a two-time Nassau champion and a two-time state finalist.

Vito's older brother, Nick, was a three-time state champion at Syosset from 2008-10.

Vito's goal is three more state championships. "If I win four state titles, I guess I one-up my brother," he laughed. "And who doesn't want to one-up their brother."

STEVEN SCHNEIDER, MacArthur, 170 pounds

Schneider never took his eye off the prize: a state wrestling title. He came within seconds of a state title in his junior season and this was his last shot. Second place was no place for Schneider, who returned for his senior year with a vengeance. He upended East Islip's Erik Adon, 3-1, to win the state title at 170 pounds. Schneider finished the season with a 49-1 record and pointed to the lone loss at the Eastern States tournament as a reminder that a loss of focus could cost him another shot at a state crown. "I was able to use the loss at Eastern States as a learning tool," said Schneider, who had a 155-20 career record. "When the final seconds ticked off the clock in the final, the emotion that came over me was such a rush. It was unbelievable because I knew I achieved the ultimate goal."

CHRIS MAURIELLO, Hauppauge, 132 pounds

It was just a matter of time when Chris Mauriello would hoist his first state wrestling crown. "You could see him developing every year," said Hauppauge coach Chris Messina. "You could see he was something special." Mauriello decisioned Said Kakhramonov of New Utrecht, 6-3, to win the 132-pound state title. Mauriello, a four-time Suffolk place winner, capped a 48-1 season with the state crown. Only a sophomore, he has a 162-21 career record and could threaten the all-time wins mark on Long Island of 227, set by Stephen Dutton of Rocky Point. His lone loss came in the final of the Eastern States tournament, where he dropped a 7-5 decision to William Koll of Lansing, the eventual New York State Division II champion. The physical maturation of Mauriello this season played a big part in his improvement.

SHAKUR RASHEED, Longwood, 160 pounds

The five-time state place winner capped his fabulous career with a second state championship. He beat Angelo Kress of Columbia, 14-0, to capture the Division I 160-pound title and the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler Award. Rasheed persevered through a difficult season that tested his mettle. He had arthroscopic knee surgery and missed the first month of the season. He won his sixth Suffolk League I tournament title despite a torn labrum. "I don't want my legacy to end as just a successful high school wrestler," Rasheed said. "I want to be one of the Long Island guys that goes on to college and makes an impact and claims a few NCAA crowns." Rasheed was also a three-time Suffolk champion and finished his career with 53 straight wins. A junior national champion, Rasheed had a career record of 192-15, and has committed to Penn State.

JAMES O'HAGAN, Seaford, 285 pounds

O'Hagan wrestles in the heaviest division and his athleticism is what separated him from the field. The speed of the big man helped him pin Michael Manni of Tappan Zee in 2:33, setting off a wild celebration in which an excited O'Hagan chargee from the mat and leaped into the arms of his coach. O'Hagan smothered both his coaches in the corner in a cool display of emotion. He became Seaford's first-ever state wrestling champion. "I'm a senior and I wanted to go out with the title," he said. "My last high school match -- a state title -- such a great feeling." O'Hagan finished third in the state last year.

O'Hagan was a two-sport star, earning Newsday all-Long Island football honors. He has verbally comitted to play football at Delaware. He finished the season at 39-1 and with an overal record of 127-12.

MARK TRACY, Sachem East, 182 pounds

Familiar foes met in the state's Division I 182-pound final and Mark Tracy was fine with the showdown. He had wrestled Brett Perry of John Jay-East Fishkill twice earlier this season, splitting those decisions. "I knew his strengths and weaknesses and he knew mine," Tracy said. "It was all about who was going to have a better performance in the state final." Tracy dumped Perry, 8-2, with a huge five-point move in the third period to claim the 182-pound state championship. Tracy finished the season with a 41-2 record. His career record was 117-23. Tracy's rugged style and leadership helped Sachem East win its second consecutive Suffolk team title. His major decision over Deer Park junior David Hamil clinched the team crown. He is the second Sachem East wrestler to win a state championship since the district split in 2004.

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