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    Nassau's best is crowned in Division I finals

    by Gene Morris on
    Wed, Feb 13, 2013 1:20 AM

    Updated Fri, Feb 15, 2013 12:46 PM

    Steven Sewkumar had an entire year to think about his defeat in the county final in 2012. As a junior, Sewkumar lost at 99 pounds to eventual state finalist Jose Rodriguez of Wantagh.

    Tuesday night, Sewkumar finally got his long-awaited redemption. In a thrilling, back-and- forth match at 113 pounds, Long Beach's Sewkumar came from behind in the final period to defeat Adam Smith of East Meadow, 6-5, and get the championship that had eluded him.

    "He paid his dues; it was his time to shine," Long Beach coach Ray Adams said. "He got off to a good start and then got a little lackadaisical and got me a little scared, but he came through, he was slick. I couldn't be prouder for him and his family. It's well deserved."

    It was something Sewkumar had been waiting for. "I knew I had to redeem myself from last year and get upstate," he said. "I've been working for this my whole wrestling career, and it was about time."

    It was a night of redemption for a few wrestlers at the Nassau County Division I championship at Hofstra.

    Following Sewkumar at 120 pounds was Robert Person of Bellmore JFK. Person lost in the final at 113 pounds in 2012, coincidentally to Sewkumar's cousin Mark Raghunandan. There was no stopping Person this time, as he won, 19-8, over MacArthur's Chris Cataldo, who defeated Person at the Eastern States Classic.

    "I know last year was devastating," Person said. "This year, I fed off of it and I didn't want to be there again. I thought it was going to be a close match -- he's one tough kid and I respect him -- and this time I opened up my offense more. I kept scoring and next thing I looked up at the scoreboard and I was winning by a good amount."

    Wantagh's Vinny Turano was also under pressure to win a county championship. Not only was the 132-pounder the No. 1 seed in the tournament and a member of the state's best team, he also fell just short in the 2012 county final at 126.

    This continued to be the year of Wantagh and of Turano, who won a 7-1 decision over Mike Lanasa of Plainedge.

    "Last year, I went into the match and I had nothing to lose, but this year, I was the guy on top. I had the target on my back," Turano said. "I worked harder than anyone to make sure we didn't have a repeat of last year."

    Turano was one of four Wantagh winners, including Dan McDevitt (170), James Corbett (182) and Kyle Quinn (106).

    Wantagh won with 202.5 points. MacArthur was second with 131.

    Owen Bachelder had a brilliant night, winning the first-ever county championship by a Hewlett wrestler when he defeated Mike Fera of Manhasset, 4-1, at 126 pounds. Bachelder also was named most outstanding wrestler and champion of champions.

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