Hewlett hopes to take next step


It is no easy task to maintain a long track record of success in any specific sport. However, Hewlett has done so after years of winning its conference and developing high quality wrestlers.

Now, the Bulldogs are looking to become the top dog in Nassau County.

This year’s team is led by five All-County returning wrestlers, each of whom bring a unique skill set to the program.

A familiar name that will embark on his last dance is senior Ariel Waldman, who has 99 career wins under his belt. Waldman is a two-time county finalist and will look to get over the hump in his final year with the club.

“He is our captain and our leader,” coach Stephen Jones said. “He believes in the program and the process and I think we’re really in for some special stuff with him.”

A common theme with most of the wrestlers for Hewlett is how involved they got with the sport at such a young age. Starting as young as third grade, kids from the area immersed themselves in the sport.

“All of these kids have come up through our youth program,” Jones said. “They’ve been around forever and travel with us all year round.”

This is paying off long-term as eighth-grader Carlos Salazar has seen immediate success from this. Now in his second year of wrestling at the varsity level, Salazar is ranked second in his weight group (110) and already has an All-County to his name.

“He’s not scared of anyone,” Jones said. “He wrestles anybody, anywhere to a tough match.”

Junior Eric Gendlin is off to a flying start this season as he’s won Hewlett’s King of the Mat and Long Beach’s Battle at the Beach tournaments in the 118-pound weight class. Gendlin is undefeated as January approaches.

Rounding out the returning All-County wrestlers are juniors Kirk Smith and Oleg Daniloff, who is moving from 172 to 160.

Additionally, Hewlett has two more wrestlers in sophomore Christopher “CJ” Maiorano and senior Ryan Goodman who will look to help take this team to new heights. Goodman placed second at the Hewlett and Long Beach based tournaments.

Hewlett finds itself in Conference 3B along with Bethpage, Division, Roosevelt, Valley Stream North, and Manhasset. The Bulldogs and Manhasset are the only two schools currently ranked in Nassau’s top 10, which has developed into a rivalry after Hewlett fell to the Indians in league play, but beat them in the county tournament.

“It has to be a team effort and everyone contributing,” Jones said. “It’s going to be tough, just like it is every year.”

The Bulldogs finished third in last season’s county tournament, their highest finish ever at the event. With that experience, this motivated group of wrestlers has their sights set on now being the team to beat this winter.

“Our goal every year is to be number one,” Jones said. “It’s been nice to be so high, but I want to be at the next level.”