ALBANY — Greyson Meak is looking to fill some big shoes.
When Jackson Polo became Cold Spring Harbor’s second wrestling state champion last year, Meak was a freshman and didn’t make it past the first round.
This year was much different.
Meak won both of his matches at 172 pounds on Day 1 of the state wrestling tournament Friday at MVP Arena. He’s the only semifinalist from Nassau in Division II.
“It’s a lot harder without a senior leader like Jackson in the room, but I try to be that guy that everyone looks up to,” Meak said.
Meak scored a reversal to break a 4-4 tie with 51 seconds left in his 6-5 decision over Landen Smith (Saranac) in the quarterfinals.
“I was just trying to get an escape, but he slipped and I took the opportunity to get two points,” Meak said.
Meak will face eighth-seeded Sean Kelly (Lowville), who defeated top-seeded Jordan Koenig (Holland Patent) in the quarterfinals.
The two have met before, with Meak earning a 1-0 decision over Kelly at the Eastern States Classic in January.
Nassau will have 10 Division I wrestlers in the semifinals Saturday morning.
Wantagh junior Jesse Vanorden made a statement in his first appearance in the tournament. The second seed at 145 pounds earned a 9-1 major decision over Jacob Mendola (Webster Thomas) in the second round and a 15-0 technical fall in the quarterfinals against Colin Carlin (Burnt Hills).
“He’s more of a star than he knows,” Wantagh coach Paul Gillespie said. “He is probably the best technician on our team. Jesse is for real.”
Brothers Anthony and Joe Clem of Wantagh will also compete in the semifinals at 118 and 126 pounds, respectively.
“Me and the Clems trained at Wantagh’s youth program when we were eight years old,” Vanorden said. “We’ve been really well prepared for this stage for a long time.”
Anthony earned two 6-0 decisions and will face Arlington’s Dillon Arrick on Saturday. His opponent in the county final, Uniondale’s Angel Banegas, will face top seed and defending state champion Matt Marlow of Northport.
Joe pinned Richie Degon (Valley Central) in 58 seconds and earned a 3-2 decision over Samson McKissick Stale (Pittsford) in the quarterfinals.
Baldwin’s Kwasi Bonsu is making up for last year. The fourth-seeded senior pinned Quincy Bonville (Bethlehem Central) in 1:10, before pinning Pine Bush’s Braydon Pennell in 3:27 in the 189-pound quarterfinals.
Bonsu lost in his first match as the second seed a year ago. He’ll face top-seeded Zack Ryder (Minisink Valley) in the semifinals.
Long Beach’s Ethan Andruela was the first Nassau seventh-grader to qualify for the state tournament.
He defeated Hauppauge’s Gino Manta via 3-1 decision in the second round of the 102-pound bracket. Manta’s teammate, Connor Sheridan, defeated Andruela in the quarterfinals with a 3-0 decision.
During the consolation round, Locust Valley’s Evan Shriberg suffered an upper body injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher for precautionary reasons, according to Nassau wrestling coordinator John Mankowich. Shriberg was able to move his extremities while he was taken into an ambulance.