After winning two straight Division II Nassau County Championships, the Mineola wrestling team is no stranger to success.
Coming off of a 9-6 record in the 2010-2011 season, the pressure is on for the Mustangs to continue their success into 2012.
The team lost five wrestlers after last season, and according to coach Dan Guido, there are some big holes to fill.
“We only have four seniors and seven juniors on the team this year, so to fill the 15 weight classes we are going to need to use some younger boys,” Guido said.
The Mustangs will need to rely heavily on some of the newest members of the team, but Guido said he is not worried.
“We have an excellent freshman class,” he said.
In addition to proven talents like reigning county champion Matt Long, only a junior, and returning all-county wrestlers Joe Massaro, Bruno Ferreiera and Willie Cashin, all competing in their last year in high school sports, the Mustangs have brought in a freshman class that looks to keep the team competitive.
The team also added freshmen Peter Mccormack and Edien Hincapie.
These six will combine with sophomore Jacob Escobar, senior Dave Gorry, and juniors Justin Sandler and Luigi Miranda to provide what will likely be the solid base to the team as it advances into this season, Guido said.
The team’s biggest matches will come against perennial powers Oyster Bay and Locust Valley, whom they hope to compete against to win their third county championship in a row.
Although the team will struggle for stability with only four seniors in the lineup, if the freshmen and sophomores step up to fill in the gaps in weight classes so that the team can have representation in all, the leadership of the juniors and seniors should be enough to keep the team competitive, Guido said.
Last year, Mineola was able to send seven wrestlers to the finals at the county meet, the most of any Nassau County team.
As the 2011-2012 season kicks off, however, the fate of the Mineola team remains to be seen.
Both Locust Valley and Oyster Bay have one victory each, while Roosevelt and Wheatley each lost their season opener. Mineola, along with Carle Place and Cold Spring Harbor, who also sent wrestlers to the county meet last season, have yet to begin their season.