With high school action getting underway over the weekend (see link to Grapple at the Garden results), we've been taking a look at some of the teams to watch.
We previewed the squads with the most returning state tournament points for Division 1 and Division 2. We discussed our pick as the #1 small school squad. And yesterday, we talked about the top state tournament team in New York.
Today, we shift our focus away from tournaments to duals and take a glance at who we believe begins the season as the top dual squad.
Courtesy of R. Adams
Starting in 2018, an official NYS dual meet championship will take place to determine the state’s top squad in both Division 1 and Division 2. But that’s still a year away.
Our overall #1 dual team hails from Nassau County, a group that will look to follow up a phenomenal campaign which included a Section 8 dual title, a Union-Endicott Duals crown, the top ranking in the Empire State by the NYS Sportswriters Association (D1) and a second place finish at the NYS tournament, featuring a state champion, two more placers and a pair of additional qualifiers.
Yes, it’s the Long Beach Marines.
Don’t get us wrong, we remember Hilton had a down-to-the-wire showdown with Long Beach in the U-E Duals final and will be tough again. Wantagh came out ahead of the Marines at the Grapple at the Garden high school tournament this past weekend. And there are a plethora of talented squads around the state. But we have Long Beach at the top to start the season.
“The thing that stands out to me about last year is the team camaraderie,” said head coach Ray Adams. “The team was so tight; everyone was accountable to each other. Everyone was in it for the team - we’re like a big family.”
That “family” will look very familiar, as all but one starter and 14 All-County wrestlers return.
Teemer, Photo by BV
The roster includes three-time state titlewinner Jacori Teemer, who is nationally-ranked and looking for NYS gold #4 as a junior at 132 pounds.
“Jacori won the [freestyle] nationals this summer out in Fargo,” Adams said. “He comes in every day and works hard and is obviously a very talented young man. He’s the total package. He adjusted really well to a much higher weight last year and I think he got exponentially better from his ninth grade year to last year.”
Two additional All-State grapplers returning are middleweight Matt Maquet and upperweight Tyreek Bromley.
“Both are seniors who are looking to get back on that podium - the higher the better,” Adams said.
Both Tyrese Byron and Charlie Spada competed at the Times Union Center, with both falling just one win short of the medal stand.
“Those guys will be at 152 and 160 for us - I’m not sure yet who will go where,” Adams said. “I definitely think they can be All-State.”
That’s not all. Joe Giorlando notched multiple wins over state qualifiers a year ago while Elijah Rodriguez had three wins over All-State wrestlers in 2015-16 (Jake Spreckman, Jeffrey Browne and teammate Tyreek Bromley). John Colletti also put together an impressive campaign, with a third place finish at the Nassau championships.
“Those guys are all really good and tough as nails,” Adams said. “They could definitely go upstate.”
Adams also mentioned others he believes have the potential to do big things. They include: in the lightweights Nassau county runner up Pablo Martinez, who will be a senior at either 99 or 106, Dylan Martinsen, who was All-County as a freshman and Max Maquet. In the middle of the lineup, Nassau placers Brandon DeVivio and Greg Wildstein are back and among the big guys, Mark Rivera, Thomas Rutherig and Jeffrey Alvarez provide experience at 220 and 285. Adams also mentioned that there are a number of other tough, young guys looking to make an impact on the lineup as well.
There’s depth and quality up and down the weights.
“We just focus on getting better every day, keeping it simple. We’re gonna be a deep tournament team and a really solid dual meet team all the way through,” Adams said. “We’re hoping good things happen if we stay humble, work hard and have fun. We know people will be coming for us; no one will be laying down for us. But we don’t talk about winning anything - we just need to stay focused.”
They may not talk about winning anything, but they’re our pick to start atop the New York dual rankings.