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Three Thoughts from the Nassau Wrestling Championships

MAURICE IRBY Freeport 132 pounds Nassau County champion

MAURICE IRBY
Freeport
132 pounds
Nassau County champion
Credit: James Escher

This year, Uniondale is Long Island’s “Heavyweight Factory”

Dante Salkey (285) and Andrew Cole (220) each won county titles, while Davion Porter (195) dropped a 4-2 decision to Rob Zorn of Sewanhaka East. Cole, the top seed entering the tourney, has yet to lose a match this season at 220. Salkey had lost to championship runner-up Evan Kappatos of Syosset last month, and as a result, was seen as the underdog. But Salkey’s resume entering the county tournament indicated he would be a tough out. He is the only person to beat Suffolk champion Michael Hughes of Smithtown West and could be a factor at the state tourney.

Dylan Palacio, to paraphrase former NFL coach Dennis Green, “did what he was supposed to do”

Long Beach's Palacio won his third county title (second in a row) and upped his record to 37-0 while maintaining his stranglehold over the 160-pound division. His first two matches of the tourney lasted a grand total of 1:22, while he breezed through the semis when opponent Dan Grabher of North Shore did not wrestle because of an injury (although Grabher did wrestle later that day in the wrestlebacks and wound up taking fourth).

Maurice Irby: Breakout Star

The tourney's MOW from Freeport  beat No. 2 seed Rob Bennett of MacArthur in the semis and top seed Justin Paradiso of Massaequa in the 132-pound final, 6-0. Irby (28-2) had lost twice to Paradiso earlier this season but gained a measure of revenge when it mattered most. At 5-foot-3, Irby has the upper body of a 160-pounder and used that strength to muscle Paradiso around the mat.

The senior will play football in college (he is considering a few top D-III programs), and Sunday’s win ensures he will be remembered for more than his gridiron exploits.

“I just keep striving and never give up, no matter what I do,” Irby said. “In life and sports, I just keep fighting.”

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