Two-time defending Section XI champion John Arceri led a parade of five Huntington High School wrestlers to weight class titles at the Kohl Invitational tournament at Suffern last Saturday.
Arceri swept through the 113-pound weight class and captured the meet’s Most Outstanding Wrestler Award. Ethan Dwyer, Kyle Mock, Brandon Mendez and Joseph Puca also won crowns in their respective weight classes.
Huntington’s five-for-five performance in the finals impressed its opponents and the crowd filling the Suffern High School gym.
“It isn’t easy to win every match in the finals of a tournament, but we did it,” Blue Devil head coach Travis Smith said. “Everyone really rose to the occasion.”
“I think we wrestled well overall as a team,” Dwyer said. “We found some things we can improve upon and are looking forward to our dual meets against Rocky Point and Islip this week.”
Dwyer nipped Garden City’s Dylan Hughes in the 106-pound finals, 9-8. Arceri topped Suffern’s Luis Cuevas with an 18-2 technical fall. Mock earned a 7-0 decision over Suffern’s Brice Artrip in a wild match at 120 pounds. Mendez took a medical forfeit over Garden City’s Matt Jones at 160 pounds. Puca pinned Yonkers’ Elieser Maldonado in 1:08 at 170 pounds.
After being knocked from the championship bracket, many Huntington wrestlers battled through consolation rounds and continued earning points for the Blue Devils, who finished second in the team standings out of the 12 schools competing in this year’s tournament.
Huntington’s Mock, Carlos Pereira, Jon Canas and Khari McNeil each finished third. Oscar Romero placed fourth. Will Thomas took fifth place.
“There’s usually a letdown after losing a match in a tournament,” Smith said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get up for the next match. Seeing six of our wrestlers fight back to finish in the top five of their weight class is great. It shows determination and a refusal to just sit back and quit.”
Huntington’s 200 points trailed only host Suffern’s 240.5 in the final team standings. Yonkers (156), Garden City (147), East Ramapo (109.5), Nanuet (102), Port Jervis (97), Bethpage (71), Hackley (48), Nyack (48), Putnam Valley (46) and White Plains (41) rounded out the competing squads.
Huntington has a 14-1 dual meet record this winter, including 5-0 in Suffolk League V action. The team travels to Islip on Friday for a 6:30 p.m. meet, the final one of the season.
The league tournament is set for Saturday, Feb. 7 at Rocky Point. Wrestling will start at 9:30 a.m. and continue straight through to the finals. The Section XI tournament is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, February 14-15 at Hofstra University. The finals will be held at 6 p.m. following the traditional “parade of champions.” The state tournament is slated for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27-28 at the Times-Union Center in Albany.