The past few seasons have seen the Sewanhaka East wrestling program send numerous wrestlers to the county championships at Hofstra. While this year’s team has some key returnees providing strong senior leadership, it’s a relatively young group. Nonetheless, the team expects to once again make some noise come tournament time.
Sewanhaka East, a team comprising wrestlers for Carey and New Hyde Park high schools, will have a tough road to hoe as it competes in a conference that includes the likes of Freeport, Uniondale, and a Massapequa squad that could be the best team in the entire state.
Head coach Ian McConnell’s teams generally get off to slow starts only to see gradual growth as the year progresses. McConnell believes his team will follow the same blueprint in 2018-19.
“We’re going through some up and downs early on, but we expect to be much better as the season goes along,” McConnell said. “I have a great group of guys who come in and work hard every day. The team goal is to make the dual meet playoffs. It’ll be real tough because we need to finish among the top three. I think we have at least five guys who can be All County wrestlers.”
Sewanhaka East has an interesting dynamic in the 285-pound class; a pair of wrestlers who are both capable of competing with the best. Bairo Flores returns after an impressive junior season. He gets being pushed daily by fellow senior Vincenzo Milione. In fact, Flores defeated his teammate in the finals at the annual Frank Giampaolo Cyclone Tournament at South Side.
“As their coach, it’s really amazing to watch them work together,” McConnell said. “Bairo is spending a lot of time working with Vincenzo on technique. He’s teaching him. When they face it each other, they leave it all on the mat. They get along great on and off the mat.”
Senior Devin Hartz has been good at every weight class he’s competed in. He moves up to 170 pounds, where he has an excellent chance of earning All-County honors. In the 152-pound class, hard-working junior C.J. Riccobono, a transfer from Holy Trinity, is a technically sound wrestler with a big upside.
McConnell is high on freshman Tyler Lanci at 99 pounds. Despite a lack of wrestling experience, Lanci is a gifted performer with natural talent. Lanci finished third at South Side. Junior Jason Chavez (113 pounds) is another wrestler expected to be in the mix when the county qualifier rolls around.
The team suffered a blow when senior Nick Kubler, a four-year varsity performer, was injured in his first match of the season. Kubler will likely miss the entire campaign. Sophomore Greg Tile has progressed well in the 138-pound class.
At 160, Sewanhaka East has the athletic, hard-nosed Andreas Barnett. Senior Chris DiCanio is an All-County caliber wrestler at 182. DiCanio is expected back from injury shortly. Junior Robert Dunn is showing promise at 220.