The Suffolk League V dual meet season has been a test of attrition. With no clear cut favorite and a glut of talented schools, most duals came down to the wire.
Huntington wrestled at Sayville Monday in the season finale. And the outcome was determined by a few underclassmen. Huntington seventh grader John Arceri took a 3-1 decision over Mike Farese at 96 pounds and ninth-grader Anthony Puca edged Albert Rios, 1-0, at 285 as the Blue Devils rolled to a 41-26 over Sayville before a crowd of 300.
"We were looking for the best possible matchups," said Huntington coach Kieran Mock. "I was impressed with some of our younger guys."
Puca used an escape 10 seconds into the third period for a 1-0 win at 285. The key to his win was the ability to ride Rios the entire second period.
Arceri scored a takedown 55 seconds into his 96-pound bout for what proved to be the decisive points. He used a nice dump move when he countered a double leg takedown attempt. Those bouts proved pivotal in Huntington's win.
"We have a very competitive league," said Sayville coach Gary Pesko. "On any given night, one team can beat the other. You have to come to wrestle every time - there are no easy dual meets."
Sayville wrestling an ultracompetitive schedule entered last night's season finale with a 14-6 overall record and a 3-3 League V mark. Huntington came in with an 8-2 record and a 3-2 mark in league action.
"This is a tough dual meet," Mock said. "You you just can't take any team for granted."
Huntington won its first bout at 145 pounds when senior Ken Stropoli pinned senior Paul Pescitelli just before time expired in the first period. Stropoli turned a close bout into a pin just before referee Sean Brocking pounded the mat for the critical pin at 2:00.
Teammate T.J. Wilson made it back-to-back first period pins when he followed with a pin of Jerry Czachot in 1:52 at 152 pounds to give the Blue Devils a 12-8 lead.
The turning point came at 171 pounds. Mock bumped up senior Luis Mendez from 160 to meet Sayville sophomore Kevin O'Connor. Mendez got caught in a cradle midway through the second period but O'Connor couldn't finish the move to pull the Huntington wrestler completely onto his back and put himself in a vulnerable position. Mendez took advantage and countered the move with a headlock of his own. The move proved fruitful as Mendez overpowered O'Connor for the pin at 3:49 for the 24-14 lead.
"They had the big wins," Pesko said.