Lee Mauras wasn’t interested in any more consolation prizes after finishing runner-up in the 132-pound weight class in the Nassau County Division 1 wrestling championships last season.
Last Sunday night at LIU Post, the Freeport junior came out firing against Massapequa’s Jeremy Scutellaro and nearly recorded a first period pin in the 145-pound final. Mauras, who defeated Scutellaro twice by the narrowest of margins during the regular season, left no drama this time and claimed the title with a 13-4 major decision win.
Mauras celebrated with a bull rush to coach Joe Chetti, who did his best to stay on his feet while hugging the Red Devils’ freshly crowned county champion.
“He’s been so motivated,” Chetti said of Mauras, who last winter earned a wild-card spot in the state tournament and placed fourth. “Lee beat this same kid by a point at Eastern States and by a point in last week’s qualifier,” he added. “He absorbed the game plan and followed it. He’s a hard-working kid who wrestles year-round and I’m really proud of him.”
Mauras edged Scutellaro, 4-3, in the qualifier hosted by Mineola on Feb. 2. In the county final, Mauras built a 6-2 lead after the first period and was never in danger.
“I’ve trained really hard,” Mauras said. “I watched a lot of film of the last time we wrestled and corrected some of the things I did wrong. It feels great to be a county champ. I’ve been dreaming of it.”
Next up is the state tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany Feb. 22-23.
“Lee really showed his abilities tonight,” Chetti added. “His goal since he started in our program as an eighth grader is to win a state championship. He eats, drinks and sleeps wrestling. He’s going up there prepared, that’s for sure.”
Mauras advanced to the county finals on the strength of four consecutive pins, including three in less than 40 seconds. On Saturday, he opened by pinning Syosset’s Nate Roth in 24 seconds, needed 2:31 to defeat Great Neck South’s Luis Villalobos, and followed with a 17-second pin against Baldwin’s Jahlil Treasure in the quarterfinals. Then in the semis on Sunday morning, he worked 36 seconds to beat Calhoun’s Jake Marine.
Mauras wasn’t Freeport’s only county finalist. Classmate Myles Norris, also a qualifying champ and a returning All-County place-winner (third last season), reached the finals at 285 before running into Uniondale’s Obrien Dorceus, who took a 5-1 decision.
Norris entered the bout with a record of 22-1. He dominated four opponents en route to the finals, including pins over Glen Cove’s Brandon Rivera (36 seconds), Great Neck North’s Tony Arias (1:08) and Valley Stream North’s Lucas Grillo (1:57.) In the semis, Norris won a 9-0 major decision against Hewlett’s Zachary Maiorano.
Another Freeport junior, 220-pounder Troy Saraldi, reached the All-County podium with a fifth-place showing. He split six matches on the big stage at LIU.