Sewanhaka East has solid mix


The Sewanhaka East wrestling team comes off a 2016-17 season that saw 10 of its wrestlers place in the county qualifier. This year’s team has a mix of seasoned veterans and promising underclassmen, and should once again be well-represented when the county tournament rolls around.

Sewanhaka East, a team composed of athletes from Carey and New Hyde Park high schools, will compete in dual meets with Baldwin, East Meadow, Valley Stream Central, Herricks, and Long Beach in Nassau Conference 2A.

Due in part to the Carey football team competing in the playoffs in November, the team traditionally starts slow and finishes strong. Head coach Ian McConnell expects his group to get better as the season goes along.

“We’re relatively young, but we have very good senior leadership,” McConnell said. “The guys are working hard and doing well. With each tournament, they’ve gotten better. There’s a long way to go. I believe we have five or six who can be All County wrestlers, this season, and two or three who could compete for county titles.”

Senior Dominic Palma, who was third in the county in the 170-pound preseason rankings, is off to a solid start. Palma took second place at tournaments at MacArthur and Hewlett, and earned the championship at the annual Frank Giampaolo Cyclone Tournament at South Side when he defeated Poly Prep’s Joshua Khoshayev in the final. Palma was the champion in last season county qualifier at 160 pounds.

An early-season injury kept senior Daniel Kerner off the mat, but he made a solid debut finishing second at 120 pounds at South Side. McConnell believes Palma and Kerner, who has defeated county champions in the past, could both be in the mix for county supremacy. Junior Nick Kubler, a three-year varsity performer, is a hard-working wrestler who keeps getting better. Kubler competes at 113 pounds.

Senior Ari Bazigos, a two-time county qualifier, finished second at MacArthur and third at Hewlett at 195 pounds. Junior Christopher Dicanio, who finished in fourth place in the county qualifier as a sophomore, is a hard-nosed competitor who is never easy to beat. Dicanio wrestles in the 182-pound class.

Junior Devin Hartz, a county qualifier at 138 pounds, continues to improve. He will compete in the 152-pound class. McConnell is high on 99-pound freshman John Mehany. The first-year varsity performer has registered three victories, and has the potential to earn All County status down the line.

Senior Cornelius Fultz had a strong performance at MacArthur, and took fifth place at 160 pounds at Hewlett with a decisive victory over Chaminade’s Sal Ballone. Sophomore Robert Dunn (220-pound class) has won four matches and has been very competitive nearly every time he’s been on the mat.

Junior Bairo Flores has been impressive. Competing in the 285-pound class, Flores finished third at MacArthur, fifth at South Side, and was the runner-up at Hewlett. Sophomore Jason Chavez (106 pounds), senior Javier Chavez (126), sophomore Luc Livieri (132) and senior Michael Salter (138) are all showing promise.