They couldn’t have staged the Suffolk County dual meet championships any better.
Wrestling side by side with a standing room only crowd in full throat they waged battle for the Division I and Division II titles.
East Islip tried to take down Brentwood, the defending Division I champions on the south mat, while John Glenn and Port Jefferson wrestled in a classic just a few feet away.
Both dual meets came down to the final weight classes.
East Islip looked to earn the school’s first county crown in school history against one of Long Island’s top programs. And Glenn looked for that elusive title that escaped the Knights in 2018 and 2019.
Brentwood and Port Jefferson came in hot and East Islip and Glenn were quickly submerged in deep deficits.
Climbing out of those holes made both comeback victories all the sweeter.
East Islip (25-0) reeled off four straight wins to erase a 12-point deficit and came back for a stirring, 29-27 win over Brentwood to capture the Division I crown Saturday before a crowd of more than 1,500 at Bay Shore High School.
The final dagger came at 160 pounds when senior captain Stephen Coleman pinned Louis Rodriguez in 1:20 for the 29-24 lead. Coleman’s win came after Chris Trahey pulled out a 9-7 victory in overtime to beat Maximo Villorio at 145 pounds and Anthony Avitabile won by major decision over Nathan Stephane at 152.
“The key was to go out there and draw the energy from the crowd but not lose my focus,” Coleman said. “The place was going crazy, and it was super exciting – our fan base is just awesome. I knew we needed the six to put us in great position for the win.”
With a five-point lead, Brentwood (23-2) needed a pin for the win. JC Almendarez decisioned Nick Groneman, 11-4, for three team points and the final margin.
“A couple of matches didn’t go our way early and we stuck together and came back,” said East Islip coach Mike Longobardi, in his 18th year. “We have a pick each other up like family mentality. We have leadership in the room and that was evident today. Coleman is one of the best captains to ever walk in an East Islip wrestling room.”
Moments early, John Glenn followed the same comeback script as East Islip. Port Jefferson had forged a 24-8 lead only to see that advantage disappear as the Knights won four of the final five bouts for a 32-27 win to claim the Suffolk Division II title.
Senior Anthony Mirando moved up two weight classes to pin Cade Delgado in 1:54 at 138 pounds for the Knights first lead of the dual meet at 26-24. Nick Comito helped Port Jefferson (6-2) retake the lead at 27-26 with a 2-0 decision over Dylan Bulger at 145 pounds to set up the dramatic ending in the final bout of the dual.
Glenn’s Kevin Vides pinned Braden Cesarski in 1:10 to bring down the house and give Glenn (14-6) its first title since 2015.
“This is my third time in the county final,” said Mirando, who improved to 25-1. “We were beaten by Shoreham one year and Mount Sinai in another. This was our year, and it feels great.”
Mirando used an over hook into a headlock for the first period pin.
“He was extremely long, and I had to be careful,” Mirando said. “Coach told me to be smart and be patient. Experience helps in these pressure situations. I was able to get good leverage on him and put him on his back.”
Mirando said the momentum swing started at 126 pounds with Chris Boccard’s pin over John Bonura in 1:29 and Karahn King’s pin over Chris Lotten in 5:54 at 132 pounds to get the Knights within 24-20.
“They got the comeback started,” Mirando said. “King is only a sophomore, and his pin was huge.”
Glenn coach T.J. Brocking made the same assessment of King’s contribution to the win.
“Every time we wrestle, I have to figure out how to get the most out of King and he’s only a sophomore,” Brocking said. “He’s one of the best athletes in our entire school. He’s stuck in the same weight class as Mirando, one of the best wrestlers in the state. We move them around the lineup. King came in hot and didn’t pace himself today. Then he had to fight through a cramp to get back in his match and pull it out. I’m so proud of him.”
In Saturday’s Division I semifinals, East Islip defeated Connetquot, 40-18, and Brentwood beat Patchogue Medford, 38-26.
But it was a big day for East Islip and Glenn.
Special national anthem
The packed gymnasium at Bay Shore High School was witness to a special rendition of the national anthem. Soon to be 11 years old, Mikey Maletta of Kings Park, played the anthem solo on his saxophone. He caught the full attention of the crowd during the performance. He was amazing.