Huntington Wrestlers Set New Suffolk Win Streak
The Huntington wrestling team set a new
Suffolk County record this week by winning its 80th
consecutive dual meet, coasting by Central Islip, 50-12 before a crowd
of 200 in the Finley Middle School gym. The Blue Devils (8-0) won 10 of
13 matches, including quick pins by Shaheim Bradshaw and Charlie Paar.
Some of Huntington’s veterans started to
celebrate setting the new record during the final bout, which saw Pierre
Delva (215 lbs.) easily win a major decision, 16-5. Paar, Shawn Riley
and Frank Sangiovanni wanted to give longtime head coach Lou Giani the
famous “Gatorade Shower” that athletes traditionally bestow on their
coach following a milestone victory.
Luckily for Giani, all the team had were
water bottles, not the 5 gallon Gatorade cooler usually present at the
match. “It’s nice to set the record,” Giani said. “It’s a tribute to
everyone who wrestled for us for the past 9 years.” As happy as the
coach was, he made sure to avoid a victory bath.
The outcome was never in doubt as the Blue Devils
methodically built a large lead. Manny Santiago (135) and Frank
Sangiovanni (140) won decisive decisions, 9-1 and 8-1 respectively, to
get Huntington going. Then Ira Gooden (145) ignited the large crowd
packed into the small gym by coming from behind, only to allow the match
to go into overtime.
Gooden trailed early but staged a furious
comeback, only to almost accidentally release his opponent near the edge
of the mat with just seconds remaining. The one point escape awarded to
Central Islip sent the match into overtime. After neither wrestler
could secure a takedown in the initial one-minute overtime period, the
clock was set at 30 seconds and the wrestlers were put in referee’s
Gooden was placed on bottom and needed to
escape to win. If he didn’t, Central Islip would win. Still energetic
after 7 minutes of wrestling, Gooden broke free after about 15 seconds
and the crowd rained thunderous applause down upon him.
Bradshaw (0:53) and Paar (0:52) earned
rare sub-minute pins, while Jack Sullivan (189) took his time, getting
the fall in 5:26. Delva finished up with a lopsided decision.
While many of the team’s wrestlers were
in first or second grade when the winning streak began in January 1995,
they were nevertheless pleased with both their individual and team
performances. “I’m happy with how I wrestled today,” Sangiovanni said.
“It’s great that we were able to set a new record. We’re proud of it.”
Huntington’s winning streak will be put
on the line this Friday (Jan. 30) when the Blue Devils host Hauppauge at
4:30 p.m. . . . The final match of the season will be wrestled at Islip
next Friday (Feb. 6) at 7 p.m. . . . The Islip meet is expected to
decide the league championship . . . Huntington will host the league
tournament on Saturday, February 14 beginning at 9:30 a.m. The top
three place finishers in each weight class will advance to the Section
XI Tournament the following weekend at SUNY Stony Brook.