East Islip clinches League IV title
Chris Chambers waited all night for his chance to wrestle. Slated to wrestle last, Chambers paced the hallways of Half Hollow Hills West and pondered his impending contribution to East Islip's run at the Suffolk League IV wrestling crown.
"It's a long wait but it's going to be worth it," Chambers said. And boy was he right.
In grand fashion and with the league title on the line Chambers was in no mood for dramatics. He made quick work of Amon Wahabzdeh and pinned the sophomore in 23 seconds at 195 pounds as East Islip beat Half Hollow Hills West, 46-37, Wednesday night to capture the Suffolk League IV dual meet title.
"I hit him with a well-timed counter on our feet," Chambers said. "He tried a lateral drop and I pushed into him and countered the move. And then I just squeezed him and went into the lockdown mode."
The top-ranked Chambers scored his 20th pin of the season and improved his record to 33-0.
East Islip (25-2), with the most dual meet wins for any team in Suffolk, won its 11th league title since 1999. This was uncharted territory for the East Islip wrestling program. The perennial Suffolk League III champions were dropped into League IV after a decline in enrollment.
"The last time we faced teams like Hauppauge was back in the '80s," said East Islip coach Guy Leggio, in his 23rd year. "And we've never wrestled Hills West. So this was brand new and a different look in a different league. We're a very young team and we did well."
Buoyed by four consecutive pins from 285-pound Dan Hayden, 220-pounder John Wilson, 99-pound Jesse Dellavecchia and 106-pound Griffin Brown, the Redmen jumped out to a 28-0 lead. But later in the dual, senior Tyler Grimaldi, the state runner-up at 160 pounds, set off a string of three successive Hills West pins as the Colts drew within 40-37.
"We were right there," said Hills West coach Mike Patrovich. "We are a better tournament team. I thought we wrestled very well and fell behind early but showed great character and came back to make it close."
Grimaldi pinned Zak Smalls at 160 before senior Joe Piccolo earned his 100th win with a 34-second pin over Matt Karl at 170 to make it 40-31. Piccolo, who earned the MVP at the Kris McDonald Islip Cup last week, improved to 30-2 this season. Jagger Rebozzo (182) pinned Kevin Ramos in 5:29 to make it 40-37 and set the stage for Chambers.
"It's definitely cool to win the dual-meet title on the final bout of the night," Chambers said. "It was worth the wait."