Playing host to a county qualifying tournament last Saturday, the North Shore wrestling program will have 13 representatives at the Nassau championships this weekend at Hofstra University. Included in those 13 qualifiers were six finalists and four champions.
The four champions were Antonio George (99 pounds), Zach Hasbrouck (126 pounds), Joey Barcellos (145), and Stephen Grabher (152.)
George truly showed his acumen as an elite wrestler at the event, scoring the max amount of points he possibly could in the tournament, as well as taking home the ‘Most Outstanding Wrestler’ award during the meet. “He pinned his way to first,” North Shore coach Mike Emmert said. He takes the No. 6-overall seed at his weight class heading into the county championships. “He’s incredible,” Emmert said. “He has visions of winning the whole thing and I think he’s going to do it.”
Hasbrouk, unlike George, faced some adversity en route to his first-place finish, battling back from two matches where he trailed to eventually win. “He’s in the hardest weight class in Nassau County, in my opinion,” Emmert said. “But this is ‘Postseason Zach Hasbrouck’.”
Barcellos, who missed roughly one-quarter of the regular season, fought hard to earn himself a top finish in the conference for 145 pounds. “He has that military man mentality,” Emmert said. “He is a ‘Yes coach, no coach, where is the wall and do you want me to run through it’ kind of kid.” Barcellos looks to wrestle at Sacred Heart University next year.
Grabher, a superb athlete with an edge to him, wrestled his way to first with a streak of aggression and passion in a tough weight class. “He’s one of the best athletes on the team, easily,” Emmert said. “He wrestled extremely physical and aggressive.” Grabher is the No. 2 seed in the county, with a keen eye on a familiar foe slated to possibly meet him in the semifinal round. Garrett Gibbons, a talented wrestler from Massapequa who dropped a match to Grabher earlier in the season, will be eyeing that matchup with Grabher who looks to repeat the result from their last meeting.
Phillip D’Amico (106), who was suffering from pneumonia in preparation for the conference finals and still competed less-than-perfect finished as a finalist along with Kyle Knoell (160).
Other qualifiers for the county championships include Michael McGarth (126), Mike DeGarabedian (132), Michael Bianchi (138), Christian Milo (145), Joseph Suraci (170), Jared Schrier (182) and Danny Romano (285).
As for the event itself, Emmert was elated at the reception North Shore and its parent-base received from the other coaches and teams.
“It was an awesome, first-class event,” Emmert said. “The parents did a great job at feeding everyone great food. Everyone said it was one of the best meets they’ve ever been to.
“These kids are a tight-knit group, they have no fear, they feel no pressure, and they don’t care where they’re ranked,” he added. “Rank us anywhere, these kids are coming for first.”
The coach’s important message to all of his kids for this weekend’s big county championship meet: “Have fun!”