Newsday's Gregg Sarra recaps the first day of competition at the state high school wrestling championships.  Credit: Newsday / William Perlman

ALBANY — The talent pool in Suffolk wrestling runs deep.

That depth was on display in the state Division I wrestling tournament before a crowd of more than 4,000 at the Times Union Center on Friday.

The first day of competition pitted Suffolk wrestlers against each other on five occasions in the first and quarterfinal rounds of the tournament. And some of those carried an opportunity to avenge a loss suffered in the Suffolk sectional tournament.

Ward Melville sophomore Christian Lievano was the first to seize that opportunity, beating Hauppauge sophomore Mikey Manta in comeback fashion, 7-4, at 99 pounds. He lost a 3-2 decision to Manta in the Suffolk sectional on February.

“When the brackets came out I was a little disappointed that we were in the same half bracket,” said Lievano, who earned an at-large entry to the state tournament. “But I was also excited at the prospect of getting another shot at him after losing in the county tournament.”

It didn’t look good early for Lievano as Manta built a 4-2 lead after a second-period takedown. Manta, who is strong in the top position and rode Lievano out for two periods in the Suffolk final, was in control again in the third period, riding Lievano for 1:30 with the lead.

“He’s so tough on top,” Lievano said. “But I hit that switch and then a cradle and that was it.”

Lievano hit the five-point move with 20 seconds left for the comeback win.

At 120 pounds, Commack senior Jake Eckerle and Connetquot senior Steven Wilkinson squared off in a quarterfinal bout. Eckerle came away with a 5-3 win after gaining a takedown in the final seconds. It was a rematch of the Suffolk final, which Eckerle won, 6-2.

Rocky Point senior Logan Sciotto beat Commack senior Gavin Damasco, 7-0, in a quarterfinal bout at 138 pounds. Sciotto never allowed Damasco to create any offense on the way to the win. It was a much different bout than the one they wrestled in the Suffolk final in which Sciotto won, 3-2, in double-overtime.

North Babylon senior Jayshon Hines decisioned Northport junior Peter Magliocco, 5-0, in a quarterfinal bout. Hines needed sudden victory to defeat Magliocco, 4-2, in the quarterfinal round of the Suffolk tournament.

Hines moves into the semifinal Saturday against a familiar opponent in Copiague senior Malik Leftenant, who pinned Westbury senior Jeremy Funchess, in 5:34 to advance. Leftenant edged Hines in the Suffolk final, 2-1.

In a shocker, defending state champion Danny Mauriello, the top seed at 170 pounds from Hauppauge, was beaten by eighth-seeded senior Quincy Downes of Fox Lane, 10-6. Eastport-South Manor senior Zach Redding continued his trek toward a 132-pound state title. He came away with a pin in 2:30 and a 13-5 decision to reach the semifinals. Redding, who earned the state crown at 120 pounds in 2018, finished third in 2019.

“It’s one match at a time,” Redding said. “This is it, senior year. I’m only going out with a state title."


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