It’s a new era for Long Beach wrestling.
The Marines, for the first time in six seasons, feature a lineup without Jacori Teemer. One of the greatest high school wrestlers in New York State history is now a redshirt at Arizona State University. He captured five NYS championships and helped Long Beach rank at or near the top of Nassau County each of those seasons.
“We certainly miss him a lot,” coach Ray Adams said. “Jacori’s a great wrestler and teammate. He’ll always be mentioned among the best in the state. Now it’s time for some of our other kids to rise up.”
The Marines made some early statements in December they’re still a force to be reckoned with by knocking off Locust Valley and MacArthur in dual meets and also placing third in their prestigious Battle at the Beach Tournament.
“I don’t think we could have hoped for a better start,” Adams said.
Long Beach’s 50-24 victory over MacArthur on Dec. 12 was an eye-opener. The Marines recorded five pins and two major decisions against Nassau’s third-ranked Generals. One of the more closely contested bouts came at 106 pounds when Long Beach sophomore Jeremiah Echeverria, a returning All-County finisher, defeated Killian Foy, 7-3.
“Jeremiah put in a lot of work during the offseason and is a legitimate contender for the county title,” Adams said of Echeverria, who was runner-up in the Battle at the Beach Dec. 1 and won the Hewlett King of the Mat event a week later.
Junior Max Maquet comes off an All-County campaign and will look to be a factor at 138 when February rolls around. He was also second in the Battle at the Beach at 145. “Max has improved more and more every year,” Adams said.
Maquet and senior Dylan Martinsen are captains. Martinsen earned All-County honors as a freshman and is looking to get back on the podium this winter in his final season. He placed second in the Long Beach and Hewlett tournaments. “I’d say he’s on a mission to finish as high as he can in the county,” Adams said.
Junior Amir Hodge (132) and sophomore Kevin Lopez (99) have been impressive out of the gate, Adams noted. Hodge is a two-time league champion and is in All-County form according to Adams. He won the Battle at the Beach and took second in Hewlett. “Winning our tournament was big for Amir’s confidence,” Adams said.
Lopez, who was undersized last season but battled hard and enjoyed some success, won the Battle at the Beach as well. “He’s had a growth spurt and added muscle in the weight room,” Adams said.
Senior Scott DeFex (170) won four matches at the host tournament and had a key pin in the MacArthur match. Others expected to contribute a lot for the Marines include seniors Luis Garcia, Jacob Miller and Elvis Alvarez, junior Wally Sofield, and sophomores Andres Castro and Luke Mantia.
Adams said Jan. 9 is circled on the calendar. That’s when Long Beach takes on his alma mater, Baldwin, in what could be a showdown for the Conference 2A title.