Long Island Wrestling Association


Donate to Support
the LIWA


Association Office
117 Dale Dr
Oakdale, NY 11769

Steve Meehan
stevemeehan0809 @ gmail.com


Four Champions Lift Huntington to Suffolk Wrestling Title

The Huntington wrestling team has a long tradition of peaking at just the right time of year.  While other dynasties have long since fallen, the Blue Devils continue to march right along. Not even dropping their first dual meet in nine years or losing the league tournament for the second straight season could keep them down. 

Huntington’s best Section XI Tournament performance in 24 years produced four more Suffolk champions and the team crown – their fourth since 1998.  It marked the first time since 1978 that a team won the county title after failing to win either the league dual meet or tournament crown.

Throughout much of the two day competition at the Indoor Sports Complex at SUNY Stony Brook, Huntington found itself locked in a tight battle with Islip, as more than 40 other teams trailed far behind in the standings.  Boosted by an unusually large cheering section in the southeast section of the arena, the Blue Devils methodically gained control of the tournament, match-by-match.

The Blue Devils ultimately claimed victory on the performances of champions Shawn Riley (130 lbs.), Shaheim Bradshaw (145), Jack Sullivan (189) and Pierre Delva (215) and all-county finishers Frank Sangiovanni (5th, 135), Chris Holland (5th, 152), Charlie Paar (2nd, 160) and Jeremy Pellot (2nd, 275).

Nursing a small lead entering the finals, the team title hung on two head-to-head match-ups between the League V foes that clearly favored Riley and Bradshaw, who only a week earlier had defeated the Buccaneers’ Mike Rudden and Dan Petroro in the league finals.  This time the score was closer, but the results were the same.

“We came out strong on Friday and continued wrestling well right through the finals,” assistant coach Travis Smith said.  “Everyone was ready.  We didn’t talk about the team title.  We knew if the kids wrestled well individually, everything else would fall into place.”  Smith had it right.

Riley’s title was his second in as many years.  The senior picked up a pair of early round pins and then topped Commack’s Steve Oliveri in the semifinals, 20-8 before taking down Rudden three times in the finals to lock up a 6-3 decision and remain perfect this year with a 31-0 mark. 

“I didn’t want to take risks out there,” Riley said.  “He’s tough and I didn’t want to make a mistake.  I’m going to pick up a notch this week for the states.”  He will be seeking to improve upon last year’s 3rd place showing when he competes with the other champions Friday and Saturday in the New York State Intersectional Tournament at SUNY Buffalo.

Bradshaw and Sullivan each waited a year for the redemption they found in the finals.  Both lost last year in the finals, with Sullivan melting down in the final seconds after coasting through most of the match with a comfortable lead.

For Bradshaw the climb up to the top step of the victory platform wasn’t without a few chills and thrills.  He was in full control in winning 7-1 and 9-0 decisions the first day, before having a wild semifinal match that had him on the verge of pinning Ted Garelick of Half Hollow Hills East one minute and nearly getting pinned just a few seconds later.  He eventually won that match, 17-7, which set up a rematch with Petroro, whom he vanquished a week earlier, 7-3. 

This time around Petroro focused almost exclusively on defense, frustrating Bradshaw’s relentless attack.  After a scoreless first period that saw the Huntington senior nearly gain a pair of takedowns near the out of bounds line, Bradshaw escape in the second frame to go up 1-0.  It was the only point that would be scored, as Petroro was ridden out the entire third period.

“I’m very happy,” Bradshaw said.  “He wasn’t opening up and it was hard to wrestle him.” 

Sullivan found redemption a year after suffering a devastating loss.  With a year to prepare, he started out strong, pinning Smithtown’s Peter Jordan in the first round in 3:22, before earning a major decision over Centereach’s Ryan Avitabile, 8-0. 

The road to the title continued for Sullivan in the semifinals with another major decision, this time over Miller Place’s Ed Caraher, 11-2.  The championship match with West Babylon’s Jovan Belcher was a one-sided affair, with Sullivan gaining control in the first ten seconds and never trailing. 

“I wanted to have tight control the whole match, especially after what happened last year,” the Huntington junior said.  “After getting that first takedown, I felt really good.  I knew I was in charge.”

Delva’s path to his first Suffolk crown wasn’t nearly as easy.  He first needed to rally to eke out a 5-4 decision over Smithtown’s Ben Reiter in the first round.  A roller coaster battle with Hills East’s James Pellegrino followed, as Delva grabbed a 15-8 decision to advance to the semifinals where the Huntington senior squared off against top seeded Nick Parker of Northport.

“Pierre wrestled a great match against Parker,” Smith said.  “He stuck to the game plan and fought off some tough attacks.  He mixed an effective offense into his defensive moves.”  A 5-2 victory pushed Delva into the Saturday night finals where he had to wrestle Chris DiGiovanna of East Islip, a familiar foe. 

An early takedown proved decisive for Delva, who added four more points to glide through to a 6-4 victory, the third time he has beaten DiGiovanna.

“I thought everyone did a great job for us,” head coach Lou Giani said. “We won some really tough matches in this tournament.  I was impressed with how none of our kids got intimidated against higher seeded opponents and how we didn’t let down in any matches.”

The county team title was the ninth of Giani’s long career, more than any other Suffolk coach.  The crowns won by Riley, Bradshaw, Sullivan and Delva also allowed the Hall of Famer to move past Bay Shore’s Cliff Clark as the coach with the most individual county champions with 57.