Rick and Anthony D'Elia have been wrestling each other for years.
After plenty of matches as youth wrestlers the brothers from Port Jefferson finally faced off at the varsity level at a tournament in December.
And as much as those bragging rights meant, there was much more on the line when they again went head-to-head Friday night in the 113-pound final at the Suffolk Division II wrestling championship at Center Moriches.
Rick, a senior, got an early takedown and controlled the match en route to a 13-5 win and his third D-II county title in the last four years.
“He’s definitely improved and it’s nice to see him here,” Rick said. “I was really happy to have him in the finals with me.”
It was the first time two brothers wrestled each other in a Suffolk final since Bay Shore’s Jack and Bill Murray in 1953, according to Newsday records. Max and Mike Soria of Kings Park made the 103 final in 2010 but never wrestled.
“It’s a really cool experience to be out there in the finals with my brother,” Rick said. “I wouldn’t have thought [brothers wrestling in a final last] happened that long ago.”
For Center Moriches' Jordan Titus, having his hand raised in front of the home crowd after his third straight county title was a thrill but he has his eyes set on finally ending his season with a state championship after falling in two straight finals.
"The last two years I was a little nervous upstate so I just have to wrestle like it’s any other tournament,” Titus said. “Knowing what it’s like really helps.”
Titus, named the tournament's most outstanding wrestler, defeated Brendan Goodrich of Mount Sinai with a 19-4 technical fall at 120.
Mt. Sinai had its own family connection on the mat as brothers Mike (132) and Joe O'Brien (138) won county titles in consecutive matches. Mike beat Robert Waller of Center Moriches, 12-4, and Joe secured a 17-1 tech fall over Cole DiGregorio of Mattituck in 5:04. Joe was named the tournament's champion of champions.
“It’s a big accomplishment, especially winning it with my brother, best friend and drilling partner,” Mike said. “We grind every day in the room and the county and state championships is what we train for.”
Mike was a county champion last year at 120 and Joe won a county title in 2017 at 132.
“It’s my senior year and I’m happy to be going upstate,” Joe said. “Winning counties is a great accomplishment and I’m just trying to go out with a bang.”
Mt. Sinai sent seven wrestlers to the finals and crowned four champions on its way to winning the team title with 272 points. Glenn was second with 229.5 and Mattituck was third with 164.5.