Lynbrook looking to do damage


In the space of four days last January, Lynbrook – at 1-3 in the closing week of Nassau Conference 3B wrestling – rewrote its entire narrative, winning its last three dual meets to finish at or above .500 for a second straight season.

With a season-opening second-place finish at the Knights Classic tournament at Uniondale Nov. 26, Lynbrook – which produced three champions at the 11-team event, as well as its Most Outstanding Wrestler, Dylan Vanegas – wasted little time this season showing it intends to keep stretching its streak.

“Last year we peaked towards the end of the season,” said Owls coach Rich Renz, whose club has started 0-1 in Conference 1B dual meets and finished fifth in a field of 12 at the Frank Giampaolo Cyclone Tournament at South Side Dec. 17. “This year we started out really good, and then had some injuries and people getting sick. Hopefully we’ll get back to 100 percent and be ready to go after New Year’s. Then we can do some damage.”

Vanegas – who also has taken titles at the Cliff Clark Duals at Bay Shore Dec. 10 and at Giampaolo, going 4-0 in each event at 138 pounds, with four pins at the former – has stayed healthy all winter and done his share of damage at 13-1 overall with eight pins.

“What can I say about Dylan? He's our best wrestler,” Renz said of the junior ranked No. 2 at 132 (his sometime weight class) in the latest county rankings. “We expect a lot from him, and he’s come out of the gate on fire.”

After winning the championship at Knights for a second straight season and also capturing the Battle at the Beach Tournament in Long Beach, 215-pound senior Ralph Caputo was sidelined until returning to finish fifth at Giampaolo, where the Owls captain – ranked No. 4 in Nassau – suffered another minor injury. “Ralph’s having an exceptional season,” Renz said. “He had a little setback, but he’s got two good tournaments under his belt. He’ll be back soon.”

Freshman Anthony Caputo (118 pounds) has picked up slack for the Owls as big brother Ralph recuperates, going 7-1 overall with a third-place finish at Giampaolo, while 10th-grader Elias Vanegas is 4-1 overall and took second at Giampaolo, pinned by his elder sibling in the in 138-pound final.

“We’ve got our young up-and-comers,” Renz said. “Anthony’s got a lot of potential. Elias Vanegas is going to make noise, maybe grow into a higher weight class than Dylan.”

Jesse Jean (11-3 overall) was runner-up at Knights before his 4-0, three-pin performance earned him the 189-pound title at Cliff Clark. He went 3-1 at Giampaolo to take third, while fellow Owls senior Shawn Healy (9-3) was Knights champion at 145.

“We’re a good tournament team, always finish towards the top and have a lot of guys placing,” Renz said. “We’ve got a lot of kids this year so we can go into a tournament and score a lot of points.”

He added: “We have the high numbers but lately a lot of kids have been getting the flu. Once our full lineup is back we’ll start doing better. It’s been difficult, but we’re holding our own.”