The warm-ups said John Glenn Knights, but at last night's Suffolk League VI Tournament there was at least one reminder of the Elwood Blue Wave KID wrestling program that produced Glenn's current crop of stars.
When the 30 league finalists entered the gym, Glenn's contingent, all 14 of them, walked in as one. They took up an entire side of the mat and, standing side-by-side in matching blue jackets, looked like a rogue wave there to announce whose gym it was.
An hour and a half later, in the 161-pound final you couldn't tell who owned the gym. Half the crowd chanted for Glenn's Mike Bosco, the other half for Rocky Point's Anthony Volpe. It was Volpe's side that erupted after he won a grueling 5-3 decision, notching his record-tying sixth league title. Bosco had defeated Volpe on a ride-out in overtime the last time these two faced off, so it was vindication for Volpe.
"It felt good because they had been rolling through the league finals," Volpe said. "I was like 'they're not gonna roll through me.' "
Despite Volpe's triumph and a 9-6 win by teammate Billy Coggins in the next bout, the depth of Glenn's wave was too much to fight against. The Knights won the meet handily and took home six individual titles. Westhampton's Peter DeTore (119 pounds) was named most outstanding wrestler.
Glenn's wins ranged from tight victories like Matt Gannon's 1-0 triumph over Mount Sinai's Eric Kogel at 135 pounds to overwhelming ones like Vinny Punzone's technical fall (5:56) over Amityville's Mico Wong at 112 pounds.
Gannon's victory was reminiscent of the 2-0 decision he won over Kogel in the regular season.
"I knew it would be close," said Gannon, a senior who had previously finished as high as second in the league. "This is amazing. It feels awesome."
At 130 and 145, the finalists were both from Glenn. Senior Nick Meinsen claimed the 130-pound crown after his brother Ken, a junior, conceded the match. Matt Fusaro defeated teammate Kevin Massa, 5-1, in the other.
Rocky Point finished second and won six titles, including the quickest championship victory. Stephen Dutton's 2:11 over Amityville's Mark Jerrick at 140. The Eagles went 5-2 against Glenn. Tom Dutton won a 14-0 major decision at 112 and Matt Ross won 6-3 at 125. Matt Clarke ended the night with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over Glenn's Mike Pinto at 275.
Only three matches didn't have a winner from Rocky Point or Glenn. Shoreham-Wading River's T.J. Fabian started off the finals with a hard-fought 4-1 decision over Chris Powers (Mount Sinai) at 96. DeTore and Mount Sinai's Brian Slattery (215) were the others.
Glenn qualified 19 wrestlers for the county tournament. Those 19 will be joined by 10 from Rocky Point. The top three finishers in each class qualify for counties.
"It just shows how hard we work as a team," Gannon said. "And I think every single one of us deserves it."