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Huntington School News

Huntington Public Schools

Huntington, New York 11743


For Immediate Release: Contact – Jim Hoops – (631) 673-2190


Another Magical December Night for Blue Devil Wrestling Machine


Thomas, Gadson, Giani, Widerman, Gaffney, Flynn, Piana.  Just seven of the many ghosts that hover in the air each time a Huntington wrestler jogs out onto the mat.  Winning never gets boring for the men in blue, so last Saturday night was another magical ending in Blue Devil Gymnasium as a new generation of champions flexed their muscles and learned what it feels like to finish on top.

When the overflow crowd was told prior to the finals that Massapequa was leading the eight-team tournament, 208-200, the Huntington coaches looked at each other in disbelief, unable to figure out how they could be losing despite having nine finalists to only six for the Chiefs.  The scores were recalculated and, sure enough, a mistake was found and the Blue Devils were ahead by 29.5 points. 

In the end, five champions and nine other place winners helped lift Huntington over Massapequa, 246-213.  East Islip (196), North Babylon (174), Baldwin (140.5), Roslyn (83), Franklin D. Roosevelt (61.5) and Central Islip (49) trailed far behind.

The tournament title carried special significance for Blue Devil head coach Lou Giani.  It was the 100th tournament championship of his long career, more than any other Suffolk coach in history.  “We’ve won through the years because we have had good kids, a good coaching staff, supportive parents and a school district and community that values the program,” Giani said in typically modest fashion.

Shawn Riley, like all Huntington wrestlers, knows the names of Blue Devil greats.  After all, they are painted on the mat.  It’s another tradition for a program steeped in history.  Win the state championship; get your name painted in a star on the mat.  Riley wants to join that elite circle and got off to a fast start in his last shot at greatness.

The senior easily swept through three matches at 130 lbs., winning two technical falls (a fifteen point spread that effectively ends the match) and a 19-6 decision, to grab his third Huntington Tournament title.  Coaches of competing teams voted him the most outstanding wrestler of the tournament.

“I thought I was sloppy,” Riley said.  “I have to sharpen up some things.  I’m not wrestling my best yet.”  Opponents take notice and start worrying: Riley, who won the Suffolk crown last year and placed third in New York State and who just overwhelmed three opponents and won the MOW award of one of the Island’s top tournaments isn’t happy with his performance. 

Shaheim Bradshaw has similar thoughts.  The senior pinned all three of his opponents, but wasn’t happy with his performance.  “I have to get in better shape,” he said.  “I need to do more drilling.  If I had been really pushed in this tournament I could have lost.  I think I’ll be much better in another week or two.”

Bradshaw is looking to climb the mountain he nearly scaled last year when he lost in the Section XI finals, 4-2.  The two-time league champ isn’t planning on being denied again.

The parade of champions included junior Charlie Paar who cruised behind 12-5, 5-2 and 6-1 decisions to win the 171 lb. title.  Senior Pierre Delva racked up two pins and two decisions, including a hard fought 6-4 victory in the finals to grab the heavyweight (215 lb.) title. 

One of the most exciting matches of the evening saw Section XI runner-up Jack Sullivan of Huntington carry a 4-2 lead late into the third period against Nassau County runner-up Ron Lanzillotta of Massapequa before surrendering a takedown that sent the crowd into a frenzy.  Sullivan, who had a pair of earlier pins in the tournament, made several furious attempts to escape and finally succeeded, with seconds remaining, to eke out a 5-4 win. 

“Jack showed some real guts reaching down and getting the job down,” Travis Smith, Huntington assistant coach said.  “Overall, as a team, we did fine.  The first tournament always highlights some areas we need to work on, and this one was no different, but there were a lot of positives happening out there on the mats.”

Brian Lifson (2nd-96 lbs.), Justin Giani (4th-112), Tom Feldman (5th-119), Emanuel Santiago (4th-135), Frank Sangiovanni (2nd-140), Shane Bird (5th-152), Chris Holland (2nd-160), Kelcy Perry (3rd-215) and Jeremy Pellot (2nd-275) all turned in strong performances.

The Blue Devils travel to Port Jervis this Saturday (Dec. 20) for a six team tournament and will go to Windsor outside of Binghamton (Dec. 27) for a 19-team competition before beginning the dual meet season in January.