Moments after winning his second straight Nassau County wrestling title, James O’Hagan was already focused on his next goal: becoming Seaford High School’s first state champion on the mat.
O’Hagan easily captured a county championship last Sunday night in the heavyweight division with a first-period pin against Island Trees’ Vinny Manna before a large crowd at Hofstra University’s Mack Sports Complex. O’Hagan, a senior who has committed to play football at Buffalo this fall, said after his victory that becoming state champion has been his main focus this season after finishing third last winter.
“Our school has never had a state champ before and I’m really trying to pull one out for our town,” O’Hagan said. “That is what I have been working for all year.”
Another Seaford wrestler who could be headed to compete against the Empire State’s top grapplers is John Lauretti, who fell to Plainedge’s Robert Ng in the 182- pound county final and has a chance at earning a wildcard entry to the state tournament. O’Hagan and Lauretti have led a successful 2013-14 Seaford wrestling season that included capturing the regular season Conference IV-A title and finishing fourth at the county dual meet championships.
In addition to striving team success, producing Seaford’s first state wrestling champion has also been a major focus of the Vikings coaching staff this season. “Having a state champion tells us that a small school like Seaford can compete with the best in the state,” assistant coach Rob Takseraas said. “Winning a county title isn’t our goal this year. This is just a step in the process.”
O’Hagan’s quest to make Seaford history arrives on Feb. 28 when the two-day New York State Championships get underway at the Times Union Center in Albany. The opponent O’Hagan fell to in last year’s state semifinal round, Mike Hughes of Smithtown West, has graduated and now wrestles collegiately for Hofstra.