If I told you that Hen Hud would be missing two of its top wrestlers due to injury and also be giving up forfeits in three weight classes, what odds would you give them of hanging with a loaded Yorktown squad?
“I would have told you we try to keep every match close,” Hen Hud coach Paul LaVallee said. “You never know what’s going to happen, and that’s why I love the sport. But we knew it would be tough.”
While the Sailors were confident in their ability to keep it competitive, I admittedly wasn’t quite as sure. And while the Huskers did eventually scratch out a 43-37 win thanks to Kyle Santucci’s pin in the final match of the day, the scare definitely opened some eyes.
“They did give up forfeits to some of our best guys, but none of us were really pleased about how we wrestled overall,” Yorktown senior Joe Mastro said. “43-37 is a really close match. We addressed everyone as soon as we shook hands. We’re not happy with our performance, and we have to take a lot from it. In our eyes, it wasn’t a win. The quality of the match – whether we win or lose – is what we’re looking at.”
• One of the main reasons that I picked this dual meet to cover was because I anticipated some intriguing matches in the middle weights. Hen Hud’s strength matched up well with Yorktown’s, but I quickly found out upon my arrival that the Sailors’ 145-pounder Kevin McDermott and 160-pounder Lance Perlmutter were out with injuries. Naturally, that gave me the impression that this one could end up being a bit lopsided. Boy, was I wrong. “Kevin was iffy,” LaVallee said. “He had what looked like a pretty bad mat burn, but we had to have him get it cultured because we didn’t want to take a chance with Saturday’s tournament. The culture won’t come back until Friday, so he couldn’t wrestle tonight. Lance got hurt at the Shoreline, and he’s out for at least a week.”
• While we didn’t get the matches we were hoping for at 145 and 160, the dual started with a good one at 152. Mastro looks like the guy to beat in that weight class, but he was up against one of his top contenders in Josh Perlmutter. The match started slowly with each wrestler coming out a bit timid, but Mastro turned it up in the third period for the 5-0 decision. “It was slow developing,” Mastro said. “I think he was trying to keep it close, and my style is usually rack up as many points as I can and work for falls. I kind of let him dictate the pace early on, and that’s something that I have to work on. I need get to my scores and my leg attacks, and have a ferociousness about it.”
• While Yorktown has a handful of guys like Mastro who they can expect wins from, the reason that Hen Hud was able to keep it so close was because of the damage done against some of the Huskers’ more inexperienced wrestlers. After Mastro’s win, Tom Wardrop (160) and Kyle Mallory (170) came up with wins to give the Sailors an 11-3 lead. That was a theme throughout the dual, as many of Yorktown’s young wrestlers ended up on their backs. “They didn’t do a good job, and they’re going to hear about it,” Yorktown coach John Tornambe said. “We’ve been saying it all year – it’s not about our top guys; it’s about everyone else underneath them.”
• The Sailors gave the lead right back thanks to forfeits at 182, 195 and 285. While that seemed to be a big deal at the time, in reality Hen Hud would have been giving up a lot of points there anyway. The Huskers fill those spots with section champs Steven Sabella and David Varian, plus section finalist Thomas Murray, so it’s not like the Sailors would have been able to do much damage had they had guys to trout out for those matches.
• It didn’t seem like it would make a huge difference at the time, but Yorktown senior Avik Mohan wrestled a great match at 220. He majored Dareem Belvin to get what turned out to be some critical team points, and he looks like a contender in his weight class. Mohan has hung tough with some of the top guys at 220. “He’s come a long way since he was a freshman,” Tornambe said. “He came out freshman year and I didn’t think he would make it. Four years later, he’s out there competing with some of the best kids in the section. He’s starting to get confidence, and when he gets confidence, I think he can be dangerous. I think he can beat some kids.”
• Hen Hud made its run from 99-120 with four consecutive wins. Rather than accept defeat due to the unfavorable circumstances, the Sailors rallied with wins from Mike DiPietro (99), Joe Ledwin (106), Mark Grant (113) and Jack Wagner (120) to retake a 33-25 lead. I got Grant’s pin of David Guerrero-Suarez on video, as well as Wagner’s 11-0 major decision over Chris Varian. “We’ve been working really hard with the younger guys,” LaVallee said. “We have two freshmen at 99 and 106, and with Mark and Jack at 113 and 120, we knew we had a little push there.”
• Jimmy Kaishian put an end to Yorktown’s skid with a crucial pin at 126. With so many young guys in the bottom portion of the Huskers’ lineup, Kaishian has been the guy who they can count on to get the team back on track. “Jimmy has been that run stopper for us all year,” Tornambe said. “We’re very inexperienced down low, and we’ve run into that a few times this year. He stopped the momentum.”
• Alec Tapia also won via pin in his 138-pound bout to tie the score at 37-37 heading into the final match. That gave Santucci a chance to win it for Yorktown, and he didn’t he didn’t waste much time. He pinned McDermott’s backup Phil Profeta in 18 seconds to lock up the win for the Huskers. “I was pumped up before the whole thing,” Santucci said. “I thought I was going to have a good match, but (McDermott was out). Even though he didn’t show up, I was watching my team and some kids fell that we didn’t think would lose, so I knew I had to go out and do my thing.”