The East Hampton High School wrestling team is sending three competitors to the county championships at Hofstra University this weekend — Lucas Escobar, at 120 pounds, Luciano Escobar, at 160, and Richie Browne, at 285.
Lucas Escobar improved his senior-year record to 33-3 as the result of winning (by pin) three matches and losing one at Saturday’s league championship meet at Shoreham-Wading River.
Browne, a senior, as is Lucas Escobar, placed third in the 285-pound division, winning two matches and losing one, and Luciano Escobar placed fourth in the 160-pound division, going 1-1 in the main draw and losing 9-6 to John Glenn’s J. Brigham in a wrestleback.
Shoreham’s James Szymanski continued to pose problems for Lucas Escobar, who, if he can win four matches at the county level, will be only the second East Hamptoner (Eric Kaufman being the other one) to join the Islandwide “Century Club,” an elite group of high school wrestlers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties with 100 wins in their careers.
Had not a broken collarbone kept him out of the league’s dual meet season last year, Escobar would be a member of that club by now.
Escobar, who’s in the midst of deciding between Brown and Johns Hopkins, swept through three opponents in the 120-pound division, pinning Westhampton Beach’s D. Cable in 27 seconds, pinning John Glenn’s J. Nancoo in 59 seconds, and pinning Westhampton Beach’s E. Garcia in 1:22 before meeting his Shoreham nemesis in the final.
“Lucas gave up a takedown to Szymanski in the last 10 seconds of the first period,” said East Hampton’s coach, Steve Tseperkas. “Szymanski, who often wrestles off of one knee, caught him in a fireman’s carry. We were hoping that Lucas would get the first takedown or that the first period would end at 0-0. . . .”
“In the second period, Lucas picked bottom, and got up, for 2-1, but then the same thing happened: With 10 seconds to go, Szymanski grabbed a leg, they scrambled, but Szymanski got the takedown, which made it 4-1 going into the third.”
“Szymanski took bottom in the third, and Lucas rode him out for most of it, but near the end of it Szymanski got a reversal, for 6-1, before Lucas got 1 more point for an escape, and that’s the way it ended, with Szymanski winning 6-2.”
“We were happy with his performance,” Tseperkas said in answer to a question on Monday. “I think he and Szymanski are pretty even. Actually, Lucas is going to work out with him at Shoreham on Tuesday. He wants to learn from his mistakes. . . . They’ll be in different brackets.”
It’s not just Szymanski that Escobar must think about, however. The presumptive top seed, Ward Melville’s Nick Piccininni, a two-time state champion who defeated him decisively here at the Sprig Gardner tournament in December, using a cross-wrist hold to tilt Escobar’s back to the mat a number of times, will be in his bracket.
Luciano Escobar, one of a number of juniors on East Hampton’s squad, began his day at Shoreham by pinning Westhampton Beach’s Alex Kravitz midway through the third period. He was then pinned in turn by John Glenn’s M. Porrello before losing 9-6, as aforesaid, to John Glenn’s J. Brigham in the wrestleback.
Browne gave up about 35 pounds to his first 285-pound division opponent, Amityville’s R. Cantelmo, and, as a result, proceeded cautiously given the fact that a takedown at Cantelmo’s hands would have been disastrous.
Following a scoreless first period, Browne chose the bottom position, and escaped for a 1-0 lead. Cantelmo replied in kind in the third, after which overtime periods ensued, Browne getting an all-important escape at the edge of the mat in the third one.
“We were nervous when it went into overtime,” said Tseperkas, “knowing that Richie had lost in triple overtime at this meet last year, which kept him from going to the counties.”
Following a semifinal-round loss, Browne pinned Shoreham’s T. Anderson in 4:04 to earn a berth in the county meet. Anderson, said Tseperkas, had decisioned Browne 5-1 the first time they met this winter.
In other action Saturday, Colton Kalbacher, who has been injured for most of the season, upset the 145-pound division’s third seed, Sayville’s O. Klopp, by a score of 9-5 before losing 5-2 to Mount Sinai’s D. Henry, the eventual champion, in the quarterfinals.
“He’s still not 100 percent,” Tseperkas said of Kalbacher, another of the team’s juniors, “though he’ll get another chance next year.”
Axel Alanis, a sophomore who wrestles at 195 for East Hampton, and who was seeded third, won by pin in the first round before losing 6-3 to Amityville’s D. Wilson in the quarters. It was the second time Wilson had defeated Alanis this season, said Tseperkas, who added that Alanis had enjoyed dual-meet wins over that division’s eventual champion, Sayville’s S. Sullivan, who was the second seed, and over John Glenn’s C. Bosco, the first seed.
Others who represented East Hampton at the league meet were Josh King, at 285, Luis Idrovo at 220, George Calderon, at 182, Anthony Pineda, at 152, Malachy Mitchnick, at 145, Matt Carrillo, at 132, and Haiau Duong, at 113.
“Only Lucas and Richie are seniors, so all these kids will be coming back next year,” Tseperkas said in signing off.