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This is the first time in my coaching career that we went undefeated in the championship round… We were 12 for 12 in the final round. Talk about ending on a high note. We won the tournament with 272 points outdistanced the next team by almost 120 points. It was a great day for our program…and even better, we trained right through this event like it wasn’t even there….We try to peak for the post season and treat all the in-season duals and tourneys as practice. We may not always be at our individual best, but it is by design. Very proud of the way the kids competed.
Big wins were Matt Kramer over Martins of Harrison who previously beat him earlier this year in the semi’s. Ethan Zimiles over a kid from Pleasantville who just beat him in the Hen Hud finals in the quarters. Louie Cree who avenged a loss earlier this season to Sasso from Greeley with a pin in the finals. Halil Gecaj who beat a private school State Champ in the finals. Evan Frank who pinned his way through the finals.
It was great to see our kids looking fresh, sharp and taking care of business as we approach the final few weeks of the season.
Very happy with the way the kids competed at Easterns.
It is a tournament like no other. Every kid there is accomplished in some way. We took a 6th as a team(150 teams entered from the east coast) and 4th against division 1 teams in NYS…Only Long beach, Hilton and Wantagh were ahead of us.
Mathew Kramer wrestled very tough but was outmatched by a kid that made it to the finals. We had a discussion about what he needs to do to get to that level and he is determined to do it.
Louie Cree had 3 nice wins and a couple of 1 point defeats and lost just 1 match short of placing. He had a nice win against Canty from Suffern and seems to be wrestling the best he has all season long.
Ray Cotto knocked off a tough kid from Danbury who ended up placing before falling to Araju, #1 kid in the nation. He hurt himself in the next match, but toughed it out.
Josh Rubin had a break out day, winning multiple matches in the last seconds. He also had 3 wins against section champs and place finishers and really gave him a boost of confidence.
Conor Melbourne rolled thru the tournament only losing to a finalist from Monroe Woodbury in the remaining seconds of his semi match and ended up finishing third. He wrestled with a laser focus and is getting ready to make a run in the post season.
This was Eric Eberhardt’s first crack at the Easterns and although he didn’t win his matches he knows that he can compete with some of the best in the state.
Evan Frank lost a highly contested and controversial match in the semi-finals in overtime. He looked unbeatable and was executing his game plan perfectly. He ended up dropping out of the tourney in his next match after tweaking an injury. He ended up in 6th place
Halil Gecaj had his best 2 days of wrestling he has ever put together only losing to the champion from John Glen to take 3rd…knocking off all kinds of accomplished wrestlers in his path, including a kid who took second last year at the States.
Bim Gecej proved he belongs with the best the state has to offer, competing and mostly winning against some very tough competition. We are still working on perfecting some of his technique but his natural abilities come shining through just at the right times. He ended up finishing 7th.
1/6-1/8….NYS Dual Championships-
I was very pleased with our overall performance. This was the NYS Dual championships and to just have even been invited was an honor as one of the top 16 teams in the State. We were in the toughest pool with the #1 and #5 ranked teams in the state. We were 3 points away from knocking off #5, 32-35. We scored more points against long beach then I thought we would. They are stacked!
Then we crushed Union Endicott and beat perennial powerhouses, Brockport, down 30-13 and stormed back to win 31-30 with clutch performances up and down the line-up, and Brentwood 34-24 in incredibly exciting matches.
We ended up 3-2 and it was an amazing experience. Conor melbourne, Evan frank and Halil Gecaj were undefeated. Ray cotto had the huge win beating an all- state(currently ranked 4th in the state) wrestler from long Beach. Evan Frank also had a great, solid win against an all-state wrestler from LB.
I can’t ever remember a team that I have coached that wrestled so well from 99-285 in 2, back to back, pressure matches. Semi Win over Arlington, 60-19, Finals win over North Rockland, 53-17.
The coaching staff had both of those matches whisker close, with a slight edge to us if everything went according to schedule. To have to blow-outs in the semi’s and finals of the best Section 1 has to offer is very impressive, and humbling.
Not only did we preform exceptionally well, but look at the size of the schools we were in the mix with. North Rockland, Suffern and Arlington. 3 of the biggest schools in Section 1 and the state...all of them 2-3 times the size of JJ. Speaks volumes to the Kids that represent this program.
Goal 1 accomplished, but just the beginning. We will stay focused and vigilant to our training, in every respect.
Lots of happy faces, they deserve it!
After a wild week, thought we might have been poised for a letdown at the Clarkstown North tourney…not so.
Ended up with 9 champions(Chris Cook, Jason Salton, Louie Cree, Ray Cotto, Josh Rubin, Conor Melbourne, Evan Frank, Halil Gecaj, Bim Gecaj) 2 Seconds(Julianna Duva and Matthew Kramer), 3 Thirds(Lucas Itu, Ethan Zimiles and John Piazza).
This tourney got moved to Sunday and we had our youth takedown tourney on Sunday, So I was only able to catch the last round. We sent 2 of our incredibly capable coaches on our staff, John Swertfager and Chad Flayhan to work with the kids, while I ran the Youth tourney, and we didn’t miss a beat.