Dan Mauriello needed a moment to catch his breath on Friday afternoon.
The Hauppauge junior notched a pair of overtime victories in the opening rounds of the state wrestling tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany, including a 2-1 double OT win over third-seeded Garrett Gibbons of Massapequa in a 152-pound quarterfinal. It was a dramatic showing for the sixth-seeded Mauriello, who was quick to admit he was both tired coming off the mat and proud of the way he competed.
“I knew I had to keep calm,” Mauriello said. “I couldn’t get too amped up or nervous, just had to keep my cool and wrestle.”
Mauriello and Gibbons each struggled to pull away in the first three periods and were tied at 1 after regulation. And neither wrestler scored a point on their feet in the first minute of OT. Mauriello, however, refused to back down and recorded an escape in the second OT for a 2-1 lead.
“I knew I could get out and get that point,” he said. “Once I had that, I knew I’d be able to hold him down for the win. I was confident that my conditioning would help ride him out.”
Mauriello did just that, settling into his defense and holding Gibbons scoreless for the final 30 seconds.
“He figured out a way to win,” Hauppauge coach Chris Messina said. “Dan is very calculating and he got it done.”
Mauriello, who defeated Edward R. Murrow’s Cyrus Smith, 7-5, with an OT takedown in his first match, said that his previous experience at the state tournament helped him prepare this year and his determination to get on the podium kept him focused against Gibbons.
“Last year, I wasn’t ready,” Mauriello said. “I was nervous, but getting that experience got me used to this and this time I knew what to do in order to be successful.”
Mauriello said he’s ready to put the early-round dramatics behind him, turning his attention to his semifinal match and, he hopes, a run at a state championship.
“It’s cool to know that I’ve already placed, but that’s not what I want,” he said. “I want to win. So I know I have to trust my own skills and go out there and wrestle as hard as I can.”
Lindenhurst’s Ryan Meisner also booked his semifinal ticket in dramatic fashion. The unseeded senior defeated No. 4 Eric Griskowitz of Saratoga, 7-2, in his first match at 138, and pinned Pittsford’s Nick Sanko in 4:31 of their quarterfinal.
“I fell to the ground after I won,” Meisner said. “It means everything to me. This is what I’ve worked all year for, to go to states.”
Meisner will take on top-seeded Adam Busiello of Eastport-South Manor in a semifinal. The four-time defending state champ recorded a pair of first-period pins in his opening matches.
Also representing ESM are defending state champ Zach Redding, who pinned both his opponents at 126, and unseeded Joe Gannone, who defeated No. 2 Matt Rogers of Wantagh, 8-5, in a 170 quarterfinal.
DIVISION I SEMIFINALISTS
99: Anthony Conetta, Massapequa
Killian Foy, MacArthur
Jared Weinhaus, Sachem East
106: Chase Liardi, Massapequa
113: Josiah Encarnacion, Wantagh
Luke Smith, Hauppauge
120: Sean Carter, North Babylon
126: Zach Redding, Easport-South Manor
132: Mike Blando, Massapequa
Xavier Pommels, Uniondale
138: Adam Busiello, Easport-South Manor
Ryan Meisner, Lindenhurst
Kyle Althenn, Mepham
145: Jonathan Spadafora, Hills East
Lee Mauras, Freeport
Kris Ketchum, Rocky Point
152: Dan Mauriello, Hauppauge
160: Kyle Mosher, South Side/East Rockaway
170: JD Moore, Levittown Division
Corey Connolly, Rocky Point
Joe Gannon, Eastport-South Manor
182: Angelo Petrakis, Massapequa
195: Liam McIntyre, Westhampton Beach
220: Dequan Stuart, Roosevelt
285: Joey Slackman, Commack
Myles Norris, Freeport