Grapplers Win 2nd Straight County Title


Danielle Hyatt, Reporter

The Wantagh Warriors captured their fourth Nassau County individudal Championship in the last five years and second consecutive crown at Hofstra University, February 10 and 12. Four Wantagh wrestlers won titles: Kyle Quinn, 106 pounds, Vinny Turano, 132 pounds, Dan McDevitt, 170 pounds and James Corbett, 182 pounds. These wrestlers will head to Albany for the New York State Championships, February 22-23.

Chris Araoz placed third in the tournament after being upset in the semi finals. He earned a wildcard to States. Nick Vines also placed third, losing a heartbreaking semifinal in the final seconds. Vines showed great courage wrestling with a torn ACL and a huge brace. Also placing and earning all county honors were Chris Plutchok (160), fifth, and TJ Ragusa (220), sixth.

Wantagh ran away with the team title, outpointing second-place McArthur 220.5-131.

It has been a dream season for the Warriors. They won close dual meet victories over Sachem East and Islip, leading to a title at the Union-Endicott duals in early January. The wrestlers also won the team title at the 11th Annual Eastern States Classic, a tourament tougher than the states with over 100 teams. Team captain, McDevitt was the champion of the 170-pound bracket while earning the Heavyweight Most Outstanding Wrestler Award. Quinn, a sophomore, was a finalist in the 106 pound bracket. Corbett and Araoz placed third. Turano placed fourth. Wantagh became the first Long Island champion of this tourney in its 11 years.

Wantagh capped off another perfect dual meet season, 18-0, with a 40-meet win streak. They won their third straight Nassau County dual meet tournament with a convincing 45-16 victory over neighborhood rival MacArthur January 26. Add to all that the Warriors are currently ranked No. 1 in New York State.

McDevitt, who was 5th in the state last year, is 37-0 and his title at Eastern States makes him a favorite for the state tournament, where he’ll likely get the top seed. McDevitt, who is a three-time county finalist and two-time champ, will wrestle for the University of Pennsylvania next year.

“I’m really happy about winning Eastern States,” said McDevitt humbly. “Last year, I didn’t place and to win it this year means a lot. Going forward, this means nothing. It’s just another tournament. The state championship in Albany is what counts. What I do during the regular season doesn’t matter because al that people will remember is what happens in February.”

Turano, a two-time county finalist, hopes to wrestle for Rider next year.

Araoz, who will wrestle at Columbia next year, placed 2nd in Nassau Counties last year and captured the junior nationals at Virginia Beach last year.

“As far as the team goes, we’re doing things that not too many other teams have ever done before,” said Araoz. “We just know to keep the ball rolling for another couple tournaments.”

Corbett, who was 4th in the county last year, defeated the two-time Suffolk County Champ from Sachem North. He is leaning towards wrestling at Brown next year.

Ragusa, who will play lacrosse at Virginia Military Institute next year, and had an outstanding year in football for Wantagh, is new to the team after moving from Massapequa. Ragusa won two bouts at Eastern states and came within a point of placing. “It’s a great team,” said Ragusa. “The guys are awesome and the coaches are knowledgeable and excellent at what they do.”

Wantagh is led by Hall of Fame Coach Paul Gillespie, whose many honors include being a two-time Division I All America wrestler. Gillespie’s long-time Long Beach assistant Reggie Jones is on the staff as is his son, P.J. Gillespie, a recent All-America at Hofstra. Rounding out the staff is Wantagh grad Ray Hanley, Jr. Head Coach Gillespie, who coached some of the greatest teams in New York history at Long Beach, called this year’s one squad one of the best teams he ever coached.

It’s not just the seniors who led this team. Seventh grader Jonathan Loew, whose oldest brother Matt was a two-time state runner up and brother Chris is wrestling for Columbia, has had a strong season and a huge overtime win to enable the Warriors to defeat Islip.

Juniors Joe Hill (113), Matt Langan (132) and Steve Pambianchi (138-145) all have wrestled well for Wantagh.

The Warriors won their Nassau County Qualifying Tournament, February 2. John Loew, Kyle Quinn, Mike Giannetti, Chris Araoz, Vince Turano, Nick Vines, Dan McDevitt, James Corbett, Joe Ulino, and TJ Ragusa placed first in their respective brackets. Overall Wantagh sent 17 wrestlers to the county tournament.

Wantagh Wins States

Wantagh Wrestlers capped off an amazing season by capturing the 2013 New York State Championship title with 83.5 points. It was the second time in the last five years that the Warriors won a state title. The Warriors are proud to introduce their very own 2013 New York State Champion, Kyle Quinn, 106. Quinn won 7-1 over Alex Tanzman, the top seed, of Westhampton Beach in the final. Quinn defeated the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3-seeded wrestlers in his weight class. He was the sixth seed. Quinn is the 10th Warrior to win a championship title with a bright future ahead of him. Wantagh has the second most state champs in New York history one behind Mepham.

Also reaching the finals for Wantagh was James Corbett. As the No. 3 seed, Corbett found himself trailing Anthony Liberatore of Williamsville South (District VI) in the semifinals, 2-0. Corbett used a pair of second-period 3-point tilts to take a commanding 6-2 lead and won 7-4. In the finals Corebett led 3-2 over top-seeded Shayne Brady of (Carthage III). It was the first time in the tournament Brady had trailed. But he escaped and rode Corbett out the third period and then won in overtime with a takedown, 5-3.

Dan McDevitt was the top seed at 170 pounds and was upset in the quarterfinals by John Vsrasidas of St. Anthony’s. It was McDevitt’s first loss of the season. He battled back to take third place, winning by technical fall in the 3rd-place consolation bout.

Also placing for Wantagh was Vinny Turano. Turano reached the semis before falling to top seed Matt Leshinger of Sayville. Leshinger went on to win the title. His only loss of the year was earlier in the season to Turano. Turano finished fourth.

Chris Araoz (126) won bouts at states and twice came within a win of placing.