THIELLS — One by one, nearly half of the wrestlers in North Rockland’s lineup willingly bumped up a weight class to test themselves against bigger opponents in Tuesday’s Section 1 Dual Meet Championship semifinal against rival Suffern.
It is widely accepted that the Red Raiders have the deepest team in the section, but they proved just how dominant they can be with an impressive 53-21 victory to punch their ticket to the Division 1 final.
“We wanted to line up our better guys against their better guys so we could get more points out of it,” junior Blaise Benderoth said. “If they pin our guy and we pin their guy, then it evens out, 6-6. But if we line up our better guys against theirs and we win (by decision), then it’s 3-0 us. That’s what we tried to do.”
North Rockland had a slight 16-9 lead after Derek DiMarsico (126 pounds), Matt Caputo (145) and Austin Paul (152) won three of the first five matches, but coach Jeff Swick gambled that his team could put it away early by playing the matchup game.
Benderoth, who is usually the Red Raiders’ 152-pounder, moved up to 160 to wrestle Gray DeSimone and came up with a 56-second pin.
“The game plan coming in was to chase their better wrestlers with our better wrestlers,” Swick said. “Most of our guys did have to bump up a weight class in order to do that, but we were willing to go after their guys with our guys. That was the idea.”
Despite giving up 16 pounds to one of Suffern’s two returning All-Section wrestlers, Peter Pjetri, the senior was able to come through with an 8-4 decision to make it a 31-9 lead.
“It was pretty tough, but my coach wanted me to do that, and I’d do anything for the team,” Didio said. “I had to use more technique than strength to wrestle up a weight.”
Tyrick Jackson ended the Mounties’ skid at 195 pounds with a narrow 7-6 decision over Mike Vogel, who usually wrestles at 182, but pins from Connor Brooks (220) and Conner Reigottie (285) extended North Rockland’s lead to 43-12.
Suffern won matches at 99 (Jack Gilbert) and 113 (Peter Oliveto) pounds, but by then, the Red Raiders already had the dual meet in hand. Now, they’ll have to wait awhile for the finals, as Fox Lane and Arlington aren’t scheduled to wrestle their semifinal until Jan. 22.
“They’re definitely as strong as we thought,” said Suffern’s Daiton Powell, who won his match at 132 pounds via pin. “We have a young team, so we’re trying to build up.”
North Rockland 53, Suffern 21
At North Rockland
126 – Derek DiMarsico (NRk) pin Tom Delgado, 2:21. 132 – Daiton Powell (Sf) pin Cristian Hilario, 3:51. 138 – Brian Nicpon (Sf) dec. Chris Bonanno, 8-6. 145 – Matt Caputo (NRk) pin Mike Koodin, 3:56. 152 – Austin Paul (NRk) maj. dec. Jason Seeback, 9-0. 160 – Blaise Benderoth (NRk) pin Gray DeSimone, 0:56. 170 – Alex Schelmety (NRk) pin Kenny Gu, 2:51. 182 – Nick Didio (NRk) dec. Peter Pjetri, 8-4. 195 – Tyrick Jackson (Sf) dec. Mike Vogel, 7-6. 220 – Connor Brooks (NRk) pin Jack Farquharson, 4:35. 285 – Conner Reigottie (NRk) pin Jose Grajales, 1:29. 99 – Jack Gilbert (Sf) pin Ethan Hollenbaugh, 3:49. 106 – Anthony Sulla (NRk) by forfeit. 113 – Peter Oliveto (Sf) dec. Alex D’Angelo, 2-0. 120 – Marlon Borge (NRk) maj. dec. Luis Cuevas, 12-0.
HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
Photos by Carucha L. Meuse/Videos by Vincent Z. Mercogliano