Team Long Island Dominates on the Way to the Waterway Duals Championship in Pennsylvania
“Long Island wrestlers have shown lately that we can compete with anyone,” said John Passaro.
This weekend was another confirmation as Team Long Island went to the Waterway Duals in the Keystone State and captured the title in a field of 24 teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware and North Carolina.
The Empire State squad went 4-0 on Saturday, thoroughly dominating the title match, 53-12, against Malvern of Pennsylvania.
“We had a very good finals,” Passaro, one of the team’s coaches, said. “When we got to the finals, we brought the kids together and told them the tournament really started at that point. We didn’t want them to do all the work they had done and wrestle well all day and come in second. It was a good feeling to walk away knowing we got everyone’s best effort in the most important match.”
The team may have given its best effort in the finale, but the efforts were strong throughout the day. The morning began with a 51-6 victory over Turks Head. The squad fell behind early but got on the board after a tight 4-3 win by James Szymanski at 115 and rolled from there, coming out on top of 11 matches.
Next up was the quarterfinals meeting with Team Griffin, which proved to be the biggest challenge of the day. It was a back and forth affair that came down to the last match. Heavyweight Josh Edmonson, the newest addition to the roster, came through in the clutch, getting the victory to push Long Island to the semis.
“We picked up Josh the day before the tournament and that match was decisive for us,” Passaro said. “He did an outstanding job. He didn’t have a lot of time to practice. He had a weight advantage in that match and wore his opponent down. That was the key win of the weekend.”
From there, Long Island cruised to a 43-19 triumph over Team Pac 10. While the overall score wasn’t close, some individual bouts were. One of those featured state champion Nick Piccininni, who was one of the three wrestlers on the New York team that bumped up a weight for the event due to a late lineup change. Piccininni, who won the Super 32 qualifier a week earlier at 113, competed at 122 against Zack Fuentes and edged the two-time Pennsylvania medalist.
“Nick had a great match,” Passaro said. “He scored his points in the last few seconds of the periods and that’s how you win matches. He had a takedown with less than 10 seconds left in the first period and then escaped with less than 10 seconds to go in the third to win it.”
It turned out to be the only close contest of the day for the Ward Melville grappler, who went undefeated with falls in his other three bouts.
Piccinnini was one of five unbeaten wrestlers for the squad. Mepham’s Louie Hernandez continued his impressive summer by outscoring his foes 55-10 in his three matches. (He also received a forfeit).
“Louie was an offensive machine,” Passaro said. “I think he only gave up points when he let kids go for escapes. He was explosive on his feet and just dominant. With Louie and Corey Rasheed, I think we had two of the best 155-pounders in the state on our team.”
Rasheed wrestled at 163 for Team Long Island, sporting a perfect 4-0 mark, including three pins and a six-point decision.
“Corey had a great weekend,” Passaro said. “When you wrestle in a tournament like this and you’re wrestling up a weight class like Nick [Piccininni], Travis [Passaro] and Corey [Rasheed] did, giving up a lot of weight after weigh-ins the night before, it’s great to do as well as they did. In the finals, Corey bearhugged a kid and took him right to his back. It was one of the moments where you just say, ‘Wow.’ It was very impressive.”
Also impressive in winning all of their matches were Johnny Vrasidas and TJ Fabian. (Jackson Mordante, Tommy Dutton, Travis Passaro and James Szymanski all went 3-1).
Vrasidas went 4-0 at 174 pounds, including a pin and a 10-0 victory. He also earned an important 8-6 decision in the quarterfinals.
TJ Fabian, Photo by Boris V
Meanwhile, Fabian battled with several accomplished opponents, such as Zach Ulerick, a Pennsylvania state placer. The Shoreham Wading River senior earned a 3-0 win at 133 pounds in that tilt.
“TJ wrestled very tough,” Passaro said. “Being able to win the close ones is the sign of a good wrestler. He’s had a great offseason, blowing people out. So it was great to see him come out on the right side of some close ones. Like last season, TJ will be right there at states with the top guys.”
Seeing the top guys was the objective for the weekend, according to Passaro.
“To me, the main goal of going to the Waterway Duals was to get these kids ready for Super 32,” Passaro said. “In order to do that, we wanted to face the best competition possible. PA is known for hard nosed wrestlers who are great on top. A lot of these kids wrestled last weekend in Shippensburg and will be going to the Journeymen Classic [September 30] and the Ironhorse event [in October]. That’s a schedule conducive to getting ready to face the best in the nation at Super 32. This is the only dual event we’re doing in that time, though, so it was great to put it together and win it representing Long Island.”
According to Passaro, it wasn’t just those who traveled to Oxford, Pennsylvania this weekend that made the results possible. He wished to thank his fellow coaches, Teddy Fabian and Ralph Mordante, as well as Carlos Restrepo.
“People make the difference,” Passaro said. “Our practices were run by Carlos Restrepo whose son originally was going to compete. But even when he knew his son wasn’t going to be able to wrestle because of an injury, he still ran every single practice and did a magnificent job getting the kids ready. I had the easy part of putting the team together. The hard work is done by the high school and club coaches on Long Island. I don’t want the hard work done by lots of people to go unnoticed.”
Full Results: (courtesy of John Passaro)
Team Long Island 51 Turks Head 6
107 – Jessie Dellavecchia (L) 4-0 vs Anthony Petril
115 – James Szymanski (W) 4-3 vs Austin Petril (SE Regional Qualifier)
122 – Nick Piccininni (W) Fall vs Donte McCarthy (4th War, Dist 1 Q)
128 – Travis Passaro (L) 5-0 vs Mike Marino (2x Beast of East Place)
133 – TJ Fabian (W) 4-2 vs Josh Nichter (3rd War at the Shore)
138 – Sam Ward (W) 8-3 vs Gary Pizzuto (19-1)
143 – Tommy Dutton (W) Fall vs Matt Venit
148 – Jackson Mordante (W) 6-1 vs Sean Lyons
155 – Louie Hernandez (W) 19-1 vs Hazty
163 – Corey Rasheed (W) Fall vs Zurere
174 – Johnny Vrasidas (W) Fall vs Dan Sauselein (District 1 Qualifier)
194 – Christian Araneo (W) Fall Mark Morey
220 – FFT
290 – Josh Edmonson (W) 10-2 vs Josh Yaboah
Team Long Island 34 Team Griffin 26
107 – Jessie Dellavecchia (L) 5-3 vs Levi Sterner
115 – James Szymanski (W) 16-3 vs Levi Witmer
122 – Nick Piccininni (W) Fall vs Todd Hauser (PA D3 Qualifier)
128 – Travis Passaro (W) 4-1 vs Zach Clingan (PA D3 Qualifier)
133 – TJ Fabian (W) 3-0 vs Zach Ulerick (6th PA, Beast of East Placer)
138 – Sam Ward (L) 6-1 vs Sam Kilian (Super 32 Placer)
143 – Tommy Dutton (L) 4-1 vs Patrick Duggan (4th PA, Beast & Fargo)
148 – Jackson Mordante (L) 19-2 vs Tyson Dippery (2nd PA, 1st NHSCA)
155 – Louie Hernandez (W) FFT
163 – Corey Rasheed (W) 9-3 vs Steven Cain (PA D3 Qualifier)
174 – Johnny Vrasidas (W) 8-6 vs Austin Barkey (PA D3 Qualifier)
194 – Christian Araneo (L) Fall vs Stephen Loiseau (PA State Qualifier)
220 – FFT
290 – Josh Edmonsen (W) Fall vs Espinoza
Team Long Island 43 Pac 10 19
107 – Jessie Dellavecchia (L) 3-0 vs Lucas Miller (3rd MAWA)
115 – James Szymanski (W) Fall vs Garret Mauger (2nd War at the Shore)
122 – Nick Piccininni (W) 6-4 vs Zack Fuentes (2x PA State Placer 4/5)
128 – Travis Passaro (W) 5-4 vs Eddie Kritzvky
133 – TJ Fabian (W) Fall vs Hunteer Vogel
138 – Sam Ward (L) 2-1 vs Joe Staley
143 – Tommy Dutton (W) Fall vs Adam Dombrosky
148 – Jackson Mordante (W) 9-1 vs Ruben Maldonando
155 – Louie Hernandez (W) 21-6 vs Greg Harvey
163 – Corey Rasheed (W) Fall vs Garrett Abare
174 – Johnny Vrasidas (W) 10-0 vs Mike Fretz
194 – Christian Araneo (L) 10-2 vs Gordon Bolig (PA State Qualifier)
220 – FFT
290 – Josh Edmonson (L) 7-1 vs Tracey Green
Team Long Island 53 Malvern Prep 12
107 – Jessie Dellavecchia (W) vs Nick Lattanze (3rd PJW’s)
115 – James Szymanski (L) Fall vs Wade Cummings (5th PJW’s)
122 – Nick Piccininni (W) Fall vs Matt Lattanze (2nd PJW’s)
128 – Travis Passaro (W) Fall vs Michael Beard (1st PJW’s)
133 – TJ Fabian (W) 4-3 vs Tommy Stokes (1st PJW’s)
138 - Sam Ward (W) 3-2 vs Greg Konezcny (SE Regional Qualifier)
143 – Tommy Dutton (W) 16-5 vs Joseph Galasso (5th PA, 2nd Flo National)
148 – Jackson Mordante (W) 5-0 vs Petrelli
155 – Louie Hernandez (W) 15-3 vs Demetri Darsaneo (SE Regional Qualifer)
163 – Corey Rasheed (W) Fall vs Connor Burns (3rd Prep Nationals)
174 – Johnny Vrasidas (W) FFT
194 – Christian Araneo (W) 6-5 vs Alfredo Ginniccari (7th Prep Nationals)
220 – FFT
290 – FFT