North Babylon junior Sean Carter had eight hours to think about Sunday night’s Suffolk County Division I wrestling championships. That’s a long time to think about trying to find a way to beat Half Hollow Hills West senior Dylan Ryder, the undefeated and defending state champion.
Carter analyzed his loss to Ryder, the top ranked wrestler in the state, in the Suffolk League V final only a week ago, and decided he had to eliminate a few mistakes and believe in himself. Why not?
Carter earned his spot in the 113-pound final after he knocked three county placewinners out of the tournament, including an 8-4 upset win over second-seeded Logan Sciotto of Rocky Point in Sunday morning’s semifinal round at the Health, Sports and Education Center at Suffolk CCC in Brentwood.
“I knew I was wrestling the best guy out there,” Carter said. “But I had to believe in myself or there was no chance.”
Carter’s confidence grew as the match wore on. Ryder scored an escape late in the second period for a 1-0 lead but Carter hit a takedown just as time expired for the 2-1 lead heading into the third period. Carter chose neutral position and the two scrambled for two minutes of action. Ryder’s final takedown attempt was countered perfectly by Carter for the huge 2-1 upset win before a packed house in Brentwood.
“I’m so proud,” said Carter, who ignored a badly bloodied mouth, suffered in the final wild seconds. “He came hard on me in the last 15 seconds and I had to be aggressive and stay in control. I thought I wrestled a smart match.”
Carter had to beat four All-Suffolk wrestlers to claim the title. His trek to the crown started from the outbracket position and included five wins.
Sophomore Thomas DiResta of Kings Park also reeled off five straight wins from an unseeded position, including a 3-0 upset of top-seeded Luke Smith to capture the 99-pound title. The two battled through two scoreless periods before DiResta scored a third period escape for a 1-0 lead with 1:35 left in the bout. Smith went for a dump and DiResta countered the move and scored his own takedown with 15 seconds remaining for the 3-0 win.
“We thought we could slow down Smith’s offense by being aggressive and keeping him in check,” said Kings Park coach Clark Crespi. “We felt we could close the gap with Smith and if Thomas executed our plan we felt he could be successful.”
It was a bit of redemption for DiResta, who was beaten by Smith, 8-0 during league action, and 11-2 in the Suffolk League V final.
In a battle of defending Suffolk champions. Patchogue-Medford senior Chris Gomez chose to cut North Babylon’s Anthony Sobotker loose for an uncontested escape with 34 seconds left in the bout at 138 pounds. The decision gave Sobotker a 5-4 lead and left Gomez, the five-time Suffolk League I champion, scrambling for a takedown and the win. Sobotker countered Gomez’s every move and came away with a thrilling 5-4 win for the 138-pound title. It was Gomez first loss of the season as he fell to 35-1 and will look to grab a wild card in the state tournament.
Hauppauge sophomore Danny Mauriello hit one of the biggest moves of the tournament when he reversed Patchogue-Medford junior Ryan Burgbacher with five seconds remaining for the 5-4 win and the 145-pound title.
The highly anticipated rematch of the Suffolk League VI final at 182 pounds was as good as advertised. Glenn’s top-seeded Joe Franzese, who is headed to Columbia to wrestle, had beaten Westhampton’s Liam McIntyre, 2-0, in the league final. The two grappled through an entertaining yet scoreless first period. Franzese, long and strong, chose the top position for the second period in an attempt to turn the shorter McIntyre and was unable to score.
McIntyre chose neutral for the third period and hit a takedown and headlock for the back points to turn in an impressive 5-0 win for the championship.
Franzese, who lost for the first time, is 20-1 and will get a wild card bid to the state tournament. The skillful two likely will meet again in an epic third bout in the state tournament.
“Franzese-McIntyre was the best bout in our league tournament,” said Rocky Point coach Darren Goldstein, whose Eagles won the team title for the second year in a row. “And they didn’t disappoint the huge crowd here tonight. It’s just great wrestling.”