Grapplers Pin Down Nassau County Championship 5-Peat


Brian Hood, Entertainment Editor

The Wantagh Warriors secured their 5th straight Nassau County championship. The Warriors also defeated Plainedge to pin down a Conference 3A title. However, Wantagh’s quest for a fifth-straight Section XIII Dual meet championship fell short when they were beaten by Farmingdale in the semis. Wantagh had nine all county wrestlers led by Kyle Quinn who was the champion at 113 pounds. Justin Vines finished second at 99 pounds, qualified for states with Quinn but Vines couldn’t compete at states in Albany due to illness. Quinn achieved all-state recognition for the third straight year by placing third.

The Plainedge dual meet was one of many highlights of the season. With Plainedge jumping out to a 12-0 lead during the middleweights (the meet started at 160 pounds), Wantagh seemed as if it would be demolished by the Red Devils. When Sophomore Larry Baker stepped out onto the mat everything changed. Baker secured a win by pin in the first period. That cut the Plainedge lead in half, boosted the team’s morale and helped led them to victory. Also picking up big wins were Justin Vines with a pin, Jonathan Loew with a quick pin, Kyle Quinn with a pin and finally a pin by Andrew Egret in the final bout. Had Egret been pinned Wantagh would have lost the match on criteria but instead came away a 39-27 win.

Another big weekend of wrestling took place at the U/E Duals at Union -Endicott High School January 3-4. There Wantagh defeated Mattituck HS ( Section 11 ),32-28, the state’s No. 1-ranked small school but fell to the state’s No. 1-ranked large school, Minisink Valley (Section 9 ), 35-24. Wantagh also took down neighborhood rival Massapequa, 52-18. The Warriors finished their season with a 23-3 dual meet record.

The team is led by captains Blaise Kavanagh, Nick Rogers and Quinn, who was a state champion as a sophomore and a runner up as a junior.

The team’s coaching staff includes Ray Hanley Sr, Paul Gillespie, who’s in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, PJ Gillespie, an NCAA all-American wrestler out of Hofstra University, Ray Hanley Jr., former Wantagh and college wrestler, Todd Bloom, another former Wantagh and college wrestler and Reggie Jones Jr., who is also in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.