Patchogue Medford's Danny Horton wrestles Bay Shore's Keon Ayala in...

Patchogue Medford's Danny Horton wrestles Bay Shore's Keon Ayala in the 160 pound weight class during the Suffolk County High School final of the Cliff Clark Classic dual meet wrestling tournament on Saturday Dec. 14. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Before Danny Horton ever stepped onto the wrestling mat at Bay Shore on Saturday, he looked at his computer during the week.

The Patchogue-Medford junior watched some of his matches from last season.

“I just wanted to make sure I was prepared,” Horton said. “I knew [the final] was going to be a great match, and I was trying to do my job.”

Horton used a pair of first-period takedowns to build a three-point advantage and hung on for a tough 5-2 decision over Bay Shore’s Keon Ayala, who was fifth in Suffolk at 152 last season.

The win turned the match and was part of a string of 10 straight Raider victories, as Patchogue-Medford captured the 24th annual Cliff Clark Classic wrestling tournament with a 62-12 win over host Bay Shore.

Pat-Med, the defending Suffolk League I co-champs, improves to 8-1 on the season. Both teams went 3-0 in their respective pools to advance to the finals. A year ago, Bay Shore beat Pat-Med to win the Clark Classic.

“Danny is a tough wrestler,” Pat-Med coach Tom Anello said. “He knew it was a big match, and he wanted to show people where he is this year.”

The Raiders also wanted to show those gathered at Bay Shore where they are as a team this year.

Sean Beatty (120) and Frank Marsilia (126) both recorded pins to help Pat-Med jump out to an early 12-0 lead. A decision win by Bay Shore’s Ty Panariello at 132, and a 28-second pin from Christefar Mableton (138) brought the Marauders within 12-9.

But Nate Bruno’s 5-1 decision at 145 started a run of 10 consecutive Pat-Med wins including pins from Liam Wolf (170), Alex Bruno (182), Anthony Velaquez (220), Evan Albrecht (285) and Duane Nelson (99).

Only Elijah Rivera was able to halt the Raiders’ run for Bay Shore (4-6). The Suffolk runner-up at 106 pounds last year earned a 7-2 decision at 113 in the final bout of the match. 

Some of the Raiders remembered losing to Bay Shore in the Cliff Clark Classic last season.

“This is big for us,” Beatty said. “We fell short here last year.”

Pat-Med now looks to continue a great start to this season with the League I and Suffolk championships on the horizon. 

“The team wrestled great, and I wrestled great,” said Horton, who is 5-0 this season. “The sky’s the limit for our team. Hopefully all our hard work pays off in the end.”

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