A pair of East Meadow wrestlers were crowned champions at last Saturday’s qualifying tournament and were among seven Jets who will hit the mats at the county championships this weekend.
Liam Laskowski took first place in the 285-pound weight class, while fellow senior Shawn Regan claimed the top spot at 160 in the qualifier held at Massapequa High School.
Hampered earlier in the season by a football-related injury, Laskowski came on strong and pinned Will Smithwick of Massapequa, one of four wrestlers that competed in the bracket.
Laskowski has competed at about 20 pounds lighter, on either side of 245, from last season. He earned first-place crowns at both the Sprig Gardner Tournament at Bellmore-JFK and Mepham and the East Meadow Holiday Tournament in December.
“Liam is a big, strong kid who can move a lot better than he did last year, and he’s having a real good season so far,” East Meadow coach Lou Lago said.
Regan — who earned a second consecutive All-County selection and took third in the counties last season, and entered the 2017-18 season ranked No. 1 in the county at 152 — defeated his teammate senior Mike Antuofermo, 12-3, to win the 160 bracket.
“He did what he was supposed to do, and he got himself a good spot for the county tournament,” Lago said of Regan, who has competed back and forth between 152 and 160 this season and won at Sprig Gardner.
While Antuofermo placed in the 160 bracket, junior Stephen Calderaro landed the fourth spot after Thomas Greenblatt of Massapequa pinned him.
Other Jets headed to the counties include freshman Jack Coffey, who lost a 10-7 decision and took second at 113, senior Matt Mustakis, after he pinned his way to fourth place at 126, and freshman Anthony Gentile, who took fourth at 99.
Coffey has won multiple matches by pinning opponents this season. Mustakis is another returning All-County honoree who’s also had to wrestle with injuries this season. Gentile earned a trip to the county tournament as an eighth grader and this season won his class at the Battle of the Beach in Long Beach and Sprig Gardner.
“He’s a guy who when he’s on can be real good,” Lago said of Gentile.
Two freshmen, Robert Spinato (132) and Brian Lin (182), fell short of qualifying for the counties with sixth spots in their respective brackets. Senior Steven Rodriguez took fifth at 170 and will serve as a first alternate in his class at the counties.
The Jets have performed well as a team at tournaments, finishing third at both Battle of the Beach and East Meadow Holiday, and took sixth at Sprig Gardner. Lago expects a few of his wrestlers will at least perform well at the counties slated for this Saturday and Sunday at Hofstra’s Mack Sports Complex.
“We have a couple of guys who are in the mix to win their weight class,” he said. “And we have a couple of guys who have the potential to be All-County wrestlers and place in their weight classes.”