East Meadow strong in qualifier


East Meadow will have at least a dozen representatives at the Nassau County Division 1 wrestling championships this weekend at Hofstra following a strong performance at last Saturday’s qualifier.

The Jets crowned three champs and had two other finalists at the qualifier hosted by Uniondale and finished second behind Wantagh in the eight-team event with 310.5 points.

“It was a pretty good showing and now we’ll look to get some guys on the podium [All-County] and into the state tournament,” East Meadow coach Vin Romanotto said.

Senior Matt Coffey (160 pounds) and juniors Matthew Rodriguez (152) and Joseph Arbitello (285) finished atop their respective weight classes in the qualifier to pace East Meadow, which enjoyed an 11-3 dual meet season highlighted by a victory over Kennedy in the second round of the playoffs.

Rodriguez and Arbitello pinned their way through the qualifier with four pins apiece, while Coffey earned a pair of pins and two convincing decisions.

Rodriguez, the team’s captain, is 36-0 this season and looking to make major noise on the county stage after falling one win shy of All-County (top six) last winter. He pinned Wantagh’s Brandon Rice in 4 minutes, 33 seconds in the qualifier final. “Matthew’s just a great kid who works hard in the room every day,” Romanotto said. “He spent more time wrestling this offseason than ever before and it helped him reach another level.”

Coffey, who has won 32 of 34 matches, battled the flu bug last February and was nowhere near 100 percent for the county tournament, Romanotto explained. Coffey earned a 7-2 decision over Wantagh’s Michael D’Amico in the qualifier title bout. “It’s Matt’s fifth year in the program and he has just as much county tournament experience as anyone,” the coach said. “He’s definitely capable of going far and punch a ticket to the state tournament.”

Arbitello is 31-8 and has suffered some narrow defeats to county contenders along the way. He took down Roosevelt’s Chris Robinson in the qualifier final in 5:24. “Joe has been right there with some really good opponents,” Romanotto said. “We’re looking for him to turn those close losses into wins and make an All-County run.”

Senior Brandon Kebreau (172) and eighth-grader Nico Rodriguez (110) were runners-up in the qualifier. Kebreau has posted 27 wins and was ranked in the top six during the regular season, and Romanotto believes he has All-County potential. Rodriguez is a scrappy 28-7. “Nico hates to lose and goes hard every second of every match,” the coach noted.

Sophomore Matthew Montamedian (118) was instrumental in East Meadow’s dual meet success and took third in the qualifier, winning four of five matches. “He was probably in the toughest weight class,” Romanotto said.

Senior Liam Koudelka, considered by Romanotto to be the Jets’ most-improved wrestler, also took third. Freshman James Galiano (126) had two pins to attain his goal of reaching the county tournament, while junior Brady Hohlman (138) needs one more win to reach 30.