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Tommy Dutton, LI's all-time wrestling wins leader, on a mission to win a state title

Tommy Dutton of Rocky Point defeated Joe DiMasi

Tommy Dutton of Rocky Point defeated Joe DiMasi of Islip in the 145 lbs weight class at the Suffolk League V wrestling championships on Feb. 8, 2014. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Long Island has a new alltime wrestling wins leader, and it's still a Dutton.

Tommy Dutton broke his brother Stephen's mark of 227 -- set between 2006 and 2010 -- just two weeks ago.

Rocky Point's Tommy Dutton has more wins than Shoreham-Wading River's Jesse Jantzen, a four-time state champion.

He has more wins than Longwood's three-time state champ John Lange.

And he has more wins than Ward Melville's Nick Piccininni, another three-time state champ.

And now he has more wins than his brother Stephen, who is ranked third nationally at Michigan, and placed fifth in the Division I NCAA Tournament last year. Stephen Dutton, who won four Suffolk crowns and two state championships, has been a rock for his younger brother throughout his six-year varsity career.

And still Tommy Dutton is not satisfied.

"I'm still missing the last piece to the puzzle," he said after he beat Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich, 10-3, Saturday at the Eastern States in Sullivan CC to win the 145-pound title. "All those wins and no state title for me. That's what I'm focused on this year: winning a state championship."

Rifanburg, a two-time defending Division II state champion, was the perfect opponent for Dutton in his journey toward a state title match.

"You want to wrestle the best guys out there," said Dutton, who has a 241-27 career record. "It doesn't come much better than Rifanburg. He's a tough kid."

Dutton, who is ranked sixth in his graduating class and carries a straight-A average, will attend Harvard and wrestle for the Crimson in the fall. He is fixated on winning the state crown. He's currently 24-0 at 145 pounds and ranked first in the state.

"He dominated Rifanburg and he was very excited, very emotional about the win," said Rocky Point coach Darren Goldstein. "I see a much more mature Tommy Dutton this season. He's better prepared for the ebb and flow of wrestling and ready for any adversity that could come his way. Some things were done right and it just doesn't work out as they were planned for him. This year will be different."

Dutton said he's better balanced offensively and doing a better job of learning from his mistakes. "My brother breaks down my wins and losses and I can see where I need improvement after every match," he said. "It's a huge advantage. He's been a really big influence on me."

Goldstein said the brothers are unique in that Stephen was more of an introvert and very hard on himself and Tommy is a people person and very social.

"Great people, pure winners all the way around but very different," Goldstein said. "Stephen won the state title and allowed one point and beat himself up over it. He wasn't satisfied. Could you imagine?

"His expectations were very high. Tommy is more fun, more open, maybe less critical of himself. I mean, he's won more bouts than anyone in Long Island history. But it's the one he hasn't won that is driving him this season."

Time will tell.

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