Huntington School News
Huntington Public Schools
Huntington, New York 11743
For Immediate Release:
– Jim Hoops – (631) 673-2190
December Night for Blue Devil Wrestling Machine
Thomas, Gadson, Giani,
Widerman, Gaffney, Flynn, Piana. Just seven of the many ghosts that
hover in the air each time a Huntington wrestler jogs out onto the mat.
Winning never gets boring for the men in blue, so last Saturday night
was another magical ending in Blue Devil Gymnasium as a new generation
of champions flexed their muscles and learned what it feels like to
finish on top.
When the overflow crowd
was told prior to the finals that Massapequa was leading the eight-team
tournament, 208-200, the Huntington coaches looked at each other in
disbelief, unable to figure out how they could be losing despite having
nine finalists to only six for the Chiefs. The scores were recalculated
and, sure enough, a mistake was found and the Blue Devils were ahead by
In the end, five
champions and nine other place winners helped lift Huntington over
Massapequa, 246-213. East Islip (196), North Babylon (174), Baldwin
(140.5), Roslyn (83), Franklin D. Roosevelt (61.5) and Central Islip
(49) trailed far behind.
The tournament title
carried special significance for Blue Devil head coach Lou Giani. It
was the 100th tournament championship of his long career, more than any
other Suffolk coach in history. “We’ve won through the years because we
have had good kids, a good coaching staff, supportive parents and a
school district and community that values the program,” Giani said in
typically modest fashion.
Shawn Riley, like all
Huntington wrestlers, knows the names of Blue Devil greats. After all,
they are painted on the mat. It’s another tradition for a program
steeped in history. Win the state championship; get your name painted
in a star on the mat. Riley wants to join that elite circle and got off
to a fast start in his last shot at greatness.
The senior easily swept
through three matches at 130 lbs., winning two technical falls (a
fifteen point spread that effectively ends the match) and a 19-6
decision, to grab his third Huntington Tournament title. Coaches of
competing teams voted him the most outstanding wrestler of the
“I thought I was sloppy,”
Riley said. “I have to sharpen up some things. I’m not wrestling my
best yet.” Opponents take notice and start worrying: Riley, who won the
Suffolk crown last year and placed third in New York State and who just
overwhelmed three opponents and won the MOW award of one of the Island’s
top tournaments isn’t happy with his performance.
Shaheim Bradshaw has
similar thoughts. The senior pinned all three of his opponents, but
wasn’t happy with his performance. “I have to get in better shape,” he
said. “I need to do more drilling. If I had been really pushed in this
tournament I could have lost. I think I’ll be much better in another
week or two.”
Bradshaw is looking to
climb the mountain he nearly scaled last year when he lost in the
Section XI finals, 4-2. The two-time league champ isn’t planning on
being denied again.
The parade of champions
included junior Charlie Paar who cruised behind 12-5, 5-2 and 6-1
decisions to win the 171 lb. title. Senior Pierre Delva racked up two
pins and two decisions, including a hard fought 6-4 victory in the
finals to grab the heavyweight (215 lb.) title.
One of the most exciting
matches of the evening saw Section XI runner-up Jack Sullivan of
Huntington carry a 4-2 lead late into the third period against Nassau
County runner-up Ron Lanzillotta of Massapequa before surrendering a
takedown that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Sullivan, who had a pair of
earlier pins in the tournament, made several furious attempts to escape
and finally succeeded, with seconds remaining, to eke out a 5-4 win.
“Jack showed some real
guts reaching down and getting the job down,” Travis Smith, Huntington
assistant coach said. “Overall, as a team, we did fine. The first
tournament always highlights some areas we need to work on, and this one
was no different, but there were a lot of positives happening out there
on the mats.”
Brian Lifson (2nd-96
lbs.), Justin Giani (4th-112), Tom Feldman (5th-119),
Emanuel Santiago (4th-135), Frank Sangiovanni (2nd-140),
Shane Bird (5th-152), Chris Holland (2nd-160),
Kelcy Perry (3rd-215) and Jeremy Pellot (2nd-275)
all turned in strong performances.
The Blue Devils travel to
Port Jervis this Saturday (Dec. 20) for a six team tournament and will
go to Windsor outside of Binghamton (Dec. 27) for a 19-team competition
before beginning the dual meet season in January.