The wait is over.
Bay Shore, a wrestling powerhouse for 50 years, had fallen on some lean times. The Mauraders hadn’t won a league dual meet title since 1982 and were looking for the school’s first tournament crown since 2000.
They shared the Suffolk II dual-meet title with Connetquot and Central Islip last week. All three schools finished with league records of 5-1.
And now the chance to grab the tournament title in a parity-driven league was before them.
The Marauders moved six wrestlers into Saturday night’s championship round of the Suffolk II Tournament. They held the team scoring lead by a half point over Connetquot heading into the finals. And Bay Shore, which captured 10 Suffolk titles from 1949 to 1989, was on the verge of ending its drought.
Bay Shore crowned five champions, including a 5-1 win by Nick Corsini at 138 pounds that helped the Marauders clinch the Suffolk II title. Bay Shore beat Connetquot, 211.5-193, for the team crown.
Corsini used a first-period takedown and built a 5-0 lead in his 5-1 win over Northport’s Josh Ruben.
“It’s exciting that we’re back on top and the kids are believing in the program again,” said Bay Shore’s first-year coach Alex Porcelli, who wrestled at Bay Shore and earned the Suffolk title at 215 pounds in 1987. “This was a very competitive league from top to bottom and nothing was easy — it was earned.”
Sophomore Elijah Rivera wasted no time giving Bay Shore some breathing room in the team scoring. He pinned Connetquot’s Christian Paredes in 2:44 to win the 99-pound title. Rivera, ranked second in Suffolk, improved to 33-0, and gave the Marauders 6.5-point lead.
“We had six guys in the finals and we knew we needed three wins to clinch the team title,” Rivera said. “I thought the pin got us off to a great start. And the real strength of our lineup is in the middle weights so we were in a good position.”
Connetquot’s Dalton Otto drew the Thunderbirds closer when he turned in a 10-3 win over Northport’s Jack Marlow at 120 pounds. Otto’s win got the Thunderbirds within 195.5-193.
But Corsini started a sweep of the middle weights. As Bay Shore reeled off four wins in a row between 138 and 160. Senior Josh Sanchez decisioned Whitman’s Joe Feola, 7-4, at 145 pounds and Mark Vasquez edged Central Islip’s Jose DeJesus, 3-1, at 152. Senior Emmet Christie beat Connetquot’s Gil Santiago, 3-2, at 160.
It was a night that Bay Shore also celebrated its past.
Bay Shore named its wrestling room after long time high school coach Gombatista ‘Jumper’ Leggio in a ceremony before the finals. Leggio, the Godfather of KID wrestling in the Eastern United States started the youth program in Bay Shore in 1961. Leggio was a three-time Suffolk champion, a 1960 Olympic alternate and a coach for more than 60 years. Leggio, 84, was on hand before the packed house to accept the acknowledgment before more than 70 of his former wrestlers.
“It is quite an honor to be recognized for something you truly loved to do,” Leggio said.