Herricks Wrestling held its Third Annual Saint Patrick’s Day Middle School Wrestling Festival March 16 at the Community Center’s Muller Arena. The Clarke Rams, Oyster Bay Baymen, Locust Valley Falcons, Jericho Jay Hawks, Westbury Green Dragons and a contingent from the PSAL’s IS 72 joined the hometown Soaring Eagles for some spirited mat action.
The Herricks lads set up the arena Friday afternoon with the assistance of some of their Herricks High School Highlander “big brothers” and Head Coach Cliff Forziat.
They dismantled and cleaned up the arena on Saturday and in between hosted 136 individual wrestling bouts for 96 individuals, 93 of whom had at least two matches and 80 of whom had three matches all in the space of one afternoon.
In wrestling, the participants are matched up in weight classes. Sometimes, a lot of wrestlers in a gym may mean only a few matches typically because of the weight class restrictions. Herricks and Westbury were supposed to have a dual match that day, but out of the 26 wrestlers available there would have been only seven matches. By inviting several other teams, the excellent and experienced Head Table crew was able to provide meaningful opportunities for virtually every contestant in a reasonable amount of time.
Although this event is not a tournament — there are no awards or places — it is run tournament-style so that middle school level wrestlers can learn and become more familiar with tournament procedures.
“There are quite a few youth tournaments run by various clubs and outside organizations that these kids can enter,” coach Forziat noted. “And for those who continue their wrestling endeavors at the high school level, tournament procedure experience is a real asset.”
Anthony Bartolotta (8), Peter Lascarides (7), Brandon McCauley (8) and Marc Licul (7) led the way for the Soaring Eagles accounting for 13 pin victories between them. Sean Park (8), Brian Ginter (8), Mike Chase (8), Vasilios Kambouras (7) and Mike Marcy (7) each came away with two victories on the day and Daniel Woska (7) added one to the team’s total.
“One’s best defense is one’s offense at any level,” Forziat said. “Of course, as experience, strength and conditioning improve one’s offense becomes slicker. Put your opponent into [a pinning situation] and keep him there. Let him or her worry about how to stop you.”
Those who have begun to break this code and overcome the normal trepidation of one-on-one physical confrontations in front of crowds are doing well.
The Thirty-Seventh Annual Herricks Wrestling Awards Dinner will be held this year on Tuesday, April 16, at the Davenport Printer Press Restaurant in Mineola. This jacket and tie affair is part of a long standing tradition. Herricks High School and Middle School wrestlers, their families, friends and Highlander Wrestling Alumni will gather to introduce and honor the current Highlanders and Soaring Eagles and to make various award presentations.