Ryan Meisner took the time to soak in the moment.
The Lindenhurst senior had just won his fourth Suffolk League II wrestling championship by defeating Joe Kasten of Connetquot, 15-5, in the 138-pound final Saturday at Whitman.
It dawned on him that his time as a high school wrestler was winding down and this is his last chance to leave his mark as he moves on to the county tournament next weekend and hopefully goes upstate after that.
“This win was really emotional for me,” Meisner said. “In eighth grade I wrestled here to win my first league title and for my last one to come at Whitman, too. It was emotional.”
Meisner jumped out to an early lead and held onto it comfortably through the match.
“My game on my feet has improved and I think I’ve also improved a lot on the bottom,” Meisner said. “When I was younger I was never able to get out.”
Meisner made it to the semifinals and placed fourth in last year’s county tournament and knows that taking that next step and getting to the final would most likely pit him against a fellow undefeated wrestler.
“I want to get to the final at counties and wrestle [Adam] Busiello and hope for the best there,” he said.
Commack’s Jake Eckerle also has some unfinished business. The junior sealed his third straight league title with a late take down of Connetquot’s Christian Paredes and held on to win 5-2 at 113.
Eckerle was the Suffolk champion last year at 106 and finished third at 99 in 2017.
“I’ve really worked on my conditioning and my mental game is a lot better,” Eckerle said. “I know there’s a few tough kids and my bracket is loaded this year but overall I feel like I’m a better wrestler than I was.”
The win was extra special for Jake because it came two matches after his younger brother Ryan won the title at 99 pounds with a tech fall in 4:13 over JT Mankowich of Sachem North.
“It’s pretty cool,” Jake said. “I knew Ryan was going to win but I had a tough kid that I had lost to previously. It’s great being brothers and being able to dominate the league and now maybe the county.”
In an exciting match at 120 pounds Lindenhurst’s Adam Quintanilla overcame a 4-0 second period deficit to avenge an earlier one point loss to Connetquot’s Steven Wilkinson.
“I knew I could still come back and I still had time,” Quintanilla, who won 8-4, said. He used a reversal and back points at the end of the period to tie it before going ahead.
Connetquot’s Will Obert-Thorn also came up big against an opponent who had beaten him earlier in the year by knocking off Bay Shore’s Nick Corsini 8-5 at 132.
“It was really disappointing because I lost to him earlier in the last 10 seconds,” Obert-Thorn said. “I went out there and attacked as much as I could and did my best to keep calm.”
Connetquot won the team title with 224 points. Commack finished second with 218 and Bay Shore was third with 197.