County title for Oceanside's Rivezzo


Fifteen seconds was all Oceanside High School senior Ben Rivezzo needed to turn potential heartbreak into a lifetime achievement.

Trailing Juan Ramos by a point in the waning moments of Nassau County’s Division 1 215-pound wrestling final on Super Bowl Sunday, Rivezzo pulled off a stunning reversal and put the Freeport senior on his back for a thrilling 5-1 victory before a packed Hofstra University Mack Sports Complex.

The No. 5 seed in the weight class, Rivezzo became the school’s first county wrestling champion since Mike Trotta in 2000 and advanced to the New York State tournament Feb. 23-24 in Albany.

“My mind was racing during the third period realizing I didn’t have much time left,” said Rivezzo, who knocked off the No. 12, 4, 1 and 2 seeds on the way to the title. “I knew I was going to do it. I just didn’t know when. I’ve given up so much for this moment and it feels amazing.”

Sailors coach Brian Schoenfelder said Rivezzo’s ability to keep the deficit at 1-0 for all of the second period and most of the third was critical. “I was OK with Ben down just a point most of the match,” he said. “He stayed close and gave himself a chance to win, and this was the biggest win of them all. Just incredible how he dug deep at the end and found a way.”

Rivezzo opened the tournament with a bye and in the second round pinned Long Beach’s Liam Hastings in just under five minutes. Then in the quarterfinals, he grinded out a 2-1 decision over Freeport’s Jordan Addison, the fourth seed.

In the semifinals the next morning, Feb. 11, Rivezzo ran into red-hot No. 1 seed Luis Lizama, who made quick work of each of his first three opponents with emphatic pins, and produced one of the biggest upsets of the weekend with a convincing 10-4 decision.

Rivezzo takes a record of 35-3 (24 pins) upstate and he won’t be the only one representing Oceanside. He’ll be joined by teammate Jared Marine. A junior, Marine qualified at 190 pounds with a resilient rebound performance after suffering a difficult 9-8 quarterfinal loss to Farmingdale’s Josh Kama.

Marine won his next four matches, including two one-point decisions, to climb back up the ladder and punch his ticket to Albany. His quest began with a pin of Port Washington’s Jivan Nakashion and continued with a 3-2 decision over Plainview’s Shakor Khaizada, a 6-5 decision over Freeport’s Christian Greene, and a pin of Mepham’s Jason Martin.

“Jared’s story is one of true grit,” Schoenfelder said of Marine’s reset. “In his first wrestleback after he lost, he reinjured a shoulder. Then he basically won three more matches with one arm. He didn’t get the county title but overcame adversity that will make him better in the long run.”

The Sailors had two other All-County finishers, both at 116. Junior Jake Strianese reached the semifinals and placed third, and freshman Chace Morris was fourth. They met in the quarterfinals, with Strianese winning 6-4, as well as the wrestlebacks, where Strianese took a 3-1 decision.