A year ago at this time Brentwood’s Devin Walker recorded a Snapchat and sent it out to his teammates.
The message was simple — "we’ll be back."
Walker certainly did his part to help deliver on that guarantee, pinning Miller Place’s Bryan Schreck in 1:50 at 138 pounds to help lead his team to a 34-28 win over the Panthers in Saturday’s Suffolk Division I wrestling dual meet championship at Bay Shore.
"We should have got it last year but we didn’t come out on top," Walker said, referencing last season's loss in the final to Shoreham-Wading River. "I knew we’d be back and we did it."
Brentwood’s Gabriel Willins also had a prophetic moment of his own earlier this week. With the way both teams' lineups matched up he knew he would have a huge opportunity when his match at 215 pounds came up.
"I was telling my coaches the other night how badly I wanted to clinch the match," Willins said. "Two years in a row I’ve gotten hurt and I wanted that moment."
And when his chance arrived Willins took complete advantage of it. He pinned Ryan Gilbert in 1:58 to clinch the victory for his team. It was the first points for Brentwood since Walker secured his pin — a stretch of five straight matches that saw Miller Place cut into what was once a 28-4 lead for Brentwood.
"We know we have solid lightweights and their middleweights were going to give us some problems," Willins said. "But at the end of the day we knew the big dogs were going to clutch it up and they wouldn’t be able to handle our heavyweights."
Brentwood (17-0) got out to a fast start, winning five of the first six matches, with five of them gaining bonus points. Jason Euceda opened with a 25-10 technical fall at 102, Jason Kwaak (110) and Juan Hernandez (132) secured first period pins and Kyle Walker (118) had a technical fall before Devin Walker’s pin gave Brentwood a 24 point lead.
"I know they have their hammers in the middle but all we had to do was not give up six and the guys did what they did," Walker said. "I’m so happy and I know the team was ready today and this is what we expect."
Miller Place (21-1) made its run like everyone knew they would but Brentwood was able to survive the wave and keep some of the toughest Miller Place wrestlers from securing bonus points before Willins punctuation point. Now Brentwood advances to the state dual meet championship Saturday in Syracuse.
"We know they’re a great team and they’re well coached and they’ll always have their kids prepared," Brentwood coach Ralph Napolitano said. "Their kids are tough through the middle and we did the math and knew that if we didn’t get pinned in two of the four matches between 145 and 172 we’re going to be in good shape if everybody does their job."
On the back of our shirts we have the saying "no one wins alone," Napolitano said. "It’s going to take all 13 guys and that’s exactly what happened."