Wrestlers Go Undefeated for 2nd Straight Season

Wrestlers Go Undefeated for 2nd Straight Season

Danielle Hyatt, Reporter

In addition to being ranked No. 1 on Long Island by Newsday and No. 2 among all winter sports teams, Wantagh’s wrestling team continues to surpass expectations. The Warriors won close dual meet victories over Sachem East and Islip, leading to a title at the Union-Endicott duals in early January. The wrestlers won the team title at the 11th Annual Eastern States Classic. Along with the team victory, team captain, Dan McDevitt, a senior, was the champion of the 170 bracket while earning the Heavyweight Most Outstanding Wrestler Award this past weekend. Kyle Quinn, a sophomore, was a finalist in the 106 bracket. James Corbett and Chris Araoz placed third. Vinny Turano placed fourth.

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 undefeated and his title at Eastern States makes him a favorite for the state tournament. McDevitt, who is a two-time county finalist and defending 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, 2nd in the county last year, is hoping to wrestle for Rider next year.

Araoz, going to wrestle Columbia next year, placed 2nd in Nassau Counties and captured the junior nationals at Virginia Beach last year. He also placed 3rd at Eastern Sates.

“As far as the team goes, were 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, has already defeated the defending Suffolk County Champ from Sachem North.

Ragusa, who will play lacrosse at Virginia Military Institute next year and had an outstanding year in football for Wantagh this past fall, is new to the team after transferring from Massapequa this year. 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.

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) all have wrestled well for Wantagh. Nick Vines, who was third in the county last year, injured his knee but has continued to wrestle nonetheless and has also had some big wins. He’s currently ranked No. 2 in the county at 138. The Warriors go into the Nassau County Qualifying Tournament and then the counties with five wrestlers ranked No. 1 in Nassau County.

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

The No. 1-ranked New York State Wrestling Team

Jonathan Loew 99
Kyle Quinn 106
Joe Fitzpatrick 106
Michael Giannetti 113
Joe Hill 113
Chris Araoz 126
Blaise Kavanagh 126
Matt Langan 132
Vinny Turano 132
Nick Vines 138
Steve Pambianchi 145
Connor Contorno 152
Chris Plutchok 160
Richard Grillo 170
Danny McDevitt 170
James Corbett 182
Joe Ulino 195
TJ Ragusa 220
James Murphy 220