The Lynbrook varsity wrestling team entered this season hoping to repeat as conference champions, and it is off to a good start working toward that goal.
After a third place finish two weeks ago at a tournament in Uniondale, the Owls finished in fourth place out of 15 teams in a Long Beach tournament on Dec. 2.
Senior captains Joe Becker (113 pounds) and Matthew Renz (285) continued their blistering starts to the campaign, both taking first place in their respective weight classes for the second straight week. Renz won his match in an ultimate tiebreaker — which means the match went beyond overtime — by one point on an escape.
“They both went 3-0 on the day,” coach Richie Renz said of Becker and Matthew, his son. “So that was very exciting. They’re both wrestling well and wrestled a tough tournament.”
Matt Renz was fresh off of winning the Outstanding Wrestler Award in a unanimous vote by coaches a week earlier at the Uniondale tournament.
Coach Renz said he is excited for this season because the team has a lot of returning wrestlers from last year. He praised his captains, which also include senior Matt Ferrante, who finished third at 113 pounds in Long Beach, and Garrett Handel, who placed fourth in the 220-pound weight class.
Renz added that he has a lot of talented depth on the team, including seniors Tommy Urena, Justin Harvin and Addison Molinaro, juniors Johnny Dibenedetto, Henry Quilca and Tyler Heaney and sophomores Kyle Serro, Sean Curley and Joe Mattia.
The Owls also have a female wrestler on the team, freshman Ally Fitzgerald, who has plenty of accolades at a young age, and placed fifth in the Long Beach tournament at the 99-pound weight class. “She’s doing really well,” Renz said. “She’s only a freshman and she placed fifth, which is really amazing.”
In the past two seasons, Fitzgerald finished 11-0, mostly competing against boys, for Lynbrook South Middle School. She won nine of those matches by pin. She was also one of 39 candidates selected from around the country that have a chance to make the Team USA Wrestling Cadet Women’s National Team, which could eventually be a bridge to Olympic wrestling.
As of press time, Lynbrook was getting set for a tournament at Southside High School in Rockville Centre on Dec. 16, where it hoped to continue its strong start. Ahead of the event, Renz expressed confidence in his group.
“I think we can repeat as conference champions,” he said. “It’s not gonna be easy, but we’ll see. I feel very confident.”