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Westhampton wrestlers have overcome family tragedies

Westhampton Beach's Alex Tanzman won the 99 -pound

Westhampton Beach's Alex Tanzman won the 99 -pound Division I title in the finals of the Suffolk wrestling championships. (February 11, 2012) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Westhampton wrestling has battled in-match adversity on its way to a 7-0 record and Suffolk League VI championship. But that can't compare to the family tragedies and misfortune a few team members have endured off the mat.

"I've been coaching for 31 years and have had close teams and try to promote family but these kids have gone through family tragedies and it's brought them so close together," Westhampton coach Paul Bass said. "I'm in awe of what they've done. They're so close."

Bass described the League VI tournament as a perennial "blood bath" and that's carried to the regular season as his team has had to battle back against some of the best teams in the county. The Hurricanes faced an 18-0 deficit against Glenn, a 9-0 deficit against Rocky Point and were in a 27-12 hole against Shoreham-Wading River.

"Every match we've been in trouble and every match it's been a different group of kids who got the job done," Bass said.

Led by defending 99-pound county champion Alex Tanzman, the Hurricanes have done just enough in each dual meet to secure the League VI title.

"Our league is relentless," Bass said. "Rocky Point, Shoreham, Glenn; it's just relentless. There are great coaches and wrestlers in this league."

And none greater than Westhampton in 2013.

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