MacArthur retools after big year


After placing five All County wrestlers last season with a senior-laden team, MacArthur is pinning hopes for another big finish on the rise of talented underclassmen.

MacArthur graduated five seniors who qualified for the individual county championships at Hofstra, including three who reached the podium. With a far younger team in place for this winter, longtime head coach Rob Paletta set up a challenging early season schedule to prepare for the pivotal February matches.

“We graduated a handful of seniors so we’re going to see how can we can retool,” Paletta said. “We’re a young team

and we’re looking to get a lot of experi-ence early.”

Sophomore Jake Schneider returns for his third season on varsity after a second place finish in the 106-pound county finals. Schneider is wrestling at 126 early in the 2018/19 campaign and striving for another crack at the big stage of Hofstra’s Mack Sports Complex.

“He is looking to be a county champ,” Paletta said of Schneider. “He has put a lot of time in.”

Michael Randazzo also shined in the 106-pound weight class last year with a sixth place finish in his first season on varsity. The sophomore is looking to build off his successful freshman season and is slated to wrestle at either 113 or 120 when he gears up for counties.

MacArthur’s accomplished sophomore class also includes Matt Huggard, who qualified for the county championships at 99 pounds as a freshman. Fellow sophomores Killian Foy (106) and Andrew Calderone (220) also have all county potential.

Experienced seniors will also be key for the Generals to march toward a big finish at the counties. Nick Dougherty (138), Michael Langelotti (145), T.J. Mauro

(138) are coming off junior season in which they made strong runs at All County honors.

Senior Matt Schopen (182) has also provide crucial leadership for the Generals early in the season as they prepare for a march toward successful showing at the county dual and individual championships. Schopen is one of five captains along with Schneider, Langelotti, Mauro and Dougherty.

“He is a hard-nosed wrestler who is going to give his best each time on the mat,” said Paletta of Schopen, who pinned Long Beach’s Thomas Rooney on Dec. 12 for one of the Generals’ five individual wins in a 50-24 dual eet setback to the Marines.

Paletta said he hopes for a top four finish at the county dual championships slated for Jan. 19 at Clarke High School. He set up a grueling December schedule with matches against Uniondale, Long Beach and Sachem North before the Generals take part in the prestigious Eastern State Duals on Jan. 11-12 at Sullivan Community College.  The individual county championships are set for

Hofstra on Feb. 9-10 where the Generals will look to send qualifiers to the New York State Championships in Albany

on Feb. 23.

“The goal is to get the losses out of the way early and then peak at the end of the season,” Paletta said. “Hopefully we mature at the right time.”