Newsday's Carissa Kellman breaks down the matches from the Suffolk Division I wrestling championships at Stony Brook on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023 Credit: NewsdayTV

There’s an empty spot on the wall of fame in the Brentwood wrestling room.

The wall carries the name and photo of every Brentwood wrestler to capture a Suffolk County championship.

“I’ve wanted my name on that wall of fame since I was in the KID wrestling program in Brentwood,” junior Jason Euceda said. “It’s always been my goal.”

Euceda emerged from an unseeded position to win five straight bouts and claim the 110-pound crown at the Suffolk Division I wrestling championships Tuesday night at the Island Federal Arena in Stony Brook University. Euceda will fill the spot on the Brentwood wall of fame.

He shut out Comsewogue’s defending county champion and top-seeded Mason Mangialino in the final, 3-0. Euceda, who finished third in the county last year, improved to 37-2 on the season.

“The key to the win was getting that first takedown,” Euceda said. “He’s a really tough opponent.”

The road to the title was a painfully difficult one. Less than two weeks ago, Brentwood coaches were not optimistic that Euceda would compete in the sectional tournament.

“Jason couldn’t get out of bed 10 days ago,” Brentwood coach Ralph Napolitano said. “He was injured during a practice getting ready for the league tournament. He nearly pulled the muscles off the bone in his hip. He was so swollen and bruised and we thought his season was over. It was heartbreaking.”

Euceda wrestled through the pain and won two bouts in the league tournament to qualify for the sectional.

“He was forced out of the league tournament and placed fourth which was good enough to qualify to get to the county tournament,” Napolitano said. “We had the extra three days to get healthy with the tournament being on Monday and Tuesday this year. That was a blessing.”

Napolitano used the adage ‘It takes a village’ to help Euceda get healthy enough to compete in the county tournament.

“A total team effort from his parents to our athletic trainer Jason Lantz to our wrestling family helped get him in a position to be here,” Napolitano said. “He had cryotherapy, stim and physical therapy every day and we followed that routine and saw a progression toward getting healthy.”

Euceda, who qualified for the state tournament last year, finished with a 2-2 record and did not place.

“This is a new chapter,” he said. “I’m ready for the state tournament.”

And he’ll have two weeks to continue to fully recover from the hip injury.

Northport’s defending state champion Matt Marlow has learned how to stay healthy. The Tigers junior improved to 37-0 with a 21-6 win by technical fall over Copiague’s Sean Campbell to win the 118-pound title. It was Marlow’s second consecutive Suffolk crown. His career record is 117-8.

 “It’s harder to repeat as a champion because everyone is chasing you when you’re on top,” he said. “You need to be consistent, stay healthy and be prepared.”

 Marlow is one of Long Island’s pure technicians. He beat the talented Campbell, who placed in last year’s state tournament, with an array of moves.

 “Wrestling guys with talent like Sean will prepare you for the state tournament,” Marlow said. “You need to be tested.”

 Bellport’s Jaiden Green wasn’t tested in the 215-pound class in this tournament. He rolled through the tournament with four pins in a total time of 7:18, including a fall in 56 seconds over Liam Knapp of Bay Shore in the final. Green was a pinning machine this season with 32 pins and a 41-1 record. “Too many pins to count,” he laughed after his first county crown. “This win was so satisfying.”

 Bellport’s Camryn Howard became the second seventh grader in Suffolk tournament history to win a sectional title. He defeated Jace Yannucciello of Ward Melville, 3-0, to win the 126-pound crown. The only seventh grader to win a Suffolk Division I crown was Shoreham-Wading River’s Jesse Jantzen at 91 pounds in 1995. Howard improved to 43-1 on the season.

 In the highly anticipated showdown of top seeds at 172 pounds, top-seeded Robert Cunningham of Miller Place used his length to get past second-seeded Ryan Monahan of Connetquot, 5-2.      

In an All-Hauppauge final at 102 pounds, sophomore Connor Sheridan beat sophomore teammate Gino Manta, 4-1. Sheridan, who placed second in last year’s county tournament, said it was a little stressful wrestling a teammate in the county final.

“You just have to go about your business,” he said. “We really don’t practice together. But there is familiarity.”

East Islip’s Sebastian Regis won the 285-pound weight class with a first period pin in 51 seconds over Brentwood’s Elmer Cruz. He led East Islip to the team title with 148 points over runner-up Brentwood’s 121 and the Miller Place total of 119.5.

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