With four qualifying tournament champions and six representatives in the Nassau Division I wrestling tournament, Valley Stream Central enjoyed a tremendous season on the mats.
“We’ve been climbing the ladder for a while,” Eagles coach Mike Luckert said. “We had a great season. We’ve had a qualifier champ every now and then, and a few kids at counties each season, but this was a breakthrough.”
Senior Brian Quiroz (138 pounds) and juniors George Hughes (195), Chris Robert (220) and Joseph Charles-Pierre (285) all captured first in their respective weight classes in the qualifying tournament hosted by Baldwin on Feb. 2. The foursome, along with Devin Dickens (third place at 170) and Rey Aguirre (fourth at 285), advanced to the county championships Feb. 10 and 12 at Hofstra.
Quiroz, who injured a knee in December and missed two months of action, returned with nothing to lose in the qualifier and wrestled aggressively. He outlasted Port Washington’s Nick Dilucia, 4-3, in the final and qualified for the county tournament for a third time. “Brian jumped right into action and won the qualifier,” Luckert said. “He went out there with something to prove.”
Quiroz finished the season with a record of 10-3, and his hopes for a county title were dashed by Calhoun’s Julian Arroyo in the quarterfinals.
Hughes pulled off a considerable upset in the final of the qualifier, beating Long Beach’s Zamaar Allen, 10-4. Just a month earlier, Allen pinned Hughes. “George faced a lot of tough competition all season, and I think that helped him down the stretch,” Luckert said. “He put the loss to Allen behind him and wrestled a great match. He’s constantly improving.”
Robert was Central’s most consistent wrestler all season and finished with 25 wins and only two losses. One of the defeats, however, came early in the county tournament when he came up short in overtime, 2-1, against Bethpage’s Anthony Carrello.