Michael Tyrell stepped on the mat and went to work Sunday night at the Suffolk County wrestling championships. The Hauppauge junior was wrestling for more than the 182-pound Suffolk title.
He was also wrestling with the coveted team crown on the line.
Hauppauge trailed Eastport-South Manor by 1.5 points and Tyrell was the last competitor for both teams. It was all on him. A Tyrell win, and Hauppauge would be the team champions. A loss and Eastport-South Manor would take home team honors.
Tyrell came away with a workmanlike 8-2 victory over top-seeded Joe Lopresti of Sayville to capture the 182-pound Suffolk Division I crown before a crowd of more than 3,000 at the Health, Sports and Education Center at Suffolk CCC in Brentwood.
Tyrell was mobbed by the entire Hauppauge team and coaching staff as he walked off the mat. Hauppauge edged Eastport-South Manor, 167.5-165. It was the Eagles third team title in the last five years and first since 2016.
“We didn’t tell him because we didn’t want him to feel more pressure,” Hauppauge coach Chris Messina said. “Think about it. He had enough to think about wrestling the top seed and winning his first Suffolk title. And add in what it would mean to his teammates and community – wow!”
Tyrell said he knew when junior teammate Danny Mauriello won the county crown at 152 pounds the team race was up to him.
“I knew the score,” he said. “The coaches were low-key about it. I went out and wrestled my style, pushing the pace and keeping the pressure on my opponent. I didn’t try to do too much.”
Tyrell’s dramatic win was set up by Mauriello’s overtime victory. Mauriello came out of a wild scramble for an overtime takedown and a 5-3 win over Kings Park’s Stefan Major at 152. The wrestlers battled through three rugged periods tied at 3. before Mauriello secured the takedown for the title. His win also gave Hauppauge a chance at the team crown, drawing the Eagles within 1.5 points.
Hauppauge crowned three champions, including junior Luke Smith, who turned in an 8-2 win over Commack’s Jake Eckerle at 113 pounds.
“Luke got it started and then Danny and Michael came through,” Messina said. “We expected a runner-up finish. This was fantastic.”
Eastport-South Manor’s Adam Busiello won his fifth Suffolk title. Busiello ran roughshod over the 138-pound weight class, pinning all four opponents in the first period. The four-time state champion, an Arizona State commit, pinned Lindenhurst’s Ryan Meisner in 1:22 in the final.
“I’ve really dedicated and focused myself on my skill set and not my weight this season,” said Busiello, who will attempt to become Suffolk’s first five-time state champion in Albany, Feb. 22-23. “I’m really comfortable at 138 and I’ve embraced where I am in my career. It’s been a great run and there’s one more step. And then it’s time to move on and prove it at the college level.”
Central Islip crowned its first champion since Andy Rodriguez won three consecutive titles from 2008-10. Kwesi Amoa edged top-seeded Elijah Rivera, 6-5, at 106 pounds.
“Kwesi had his best two takedowns of the whole season,” Central Islip coach Rock Brzozinski said. “We told him to go out and enjoy the moment and win this for yourself and no one else. He outwrestled Rivera, who was undefeated and just outstanding. He’s such a hard-working kid and he deserved to bask in the wrestling spotlight.”