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Huntington Wrestlers Set New Suffolk Win Streak Record

The Huntington wrestling team set a new Suffolk County record this week by winning its 80th consecutive dual meet, coasting by Central Islip, 50-12 before a crowd of 200 in the Finley Middle School gym.  The Blue Devils (8-0) won 10 of 13 matches, including quick pins by Shaheim Bradshaw and Charlie Paar.

Some of Huntington’s veterans started to celebrate setting the new record during the final bout, which saw Pierre Delva (215 lbs.) easily win a major decision, 16-5.  Paar, Shawn Riley and Frank Sangiovanni wanted to give longtime head coach Lou Giani the famous “Gatorade Shower” that athletes traditionally bestow on their coach following a milestone victory. 

Luckily for Giani, all the team had were water bottles, not the 5 gallon Gatorade cooler usually present at the match.  “It’s nice to set the record,” Giani said.  “It’s a tribute to everyone who wrestled for us for the past 9 years.”  As happy as the coach was, he made sure to avoid a victory bath.

The outcome was never in doubt as the Blue Devils methodically built a large lead.  Manny Santiago (135) and Frank Sangiovanni (140) won decisive decisions, 9-1 and 8-1 respectively, to get Huntington going.  Then Ira Gooden (145) ignited the large crowd packed into the small gym by coming from behind, only to allow the match to go into overtime.

Gooden trailed early but staged a furious comeback, only to almost accidentally release his opponent near the edge of the mat with just seconds remaining.  The one point escape awarded to Central Islip sent the match into overtime.  After neither wrestler could secure a takedown in the initial one-minute overtime period, the clock was set at 30 seconds and the wrestlers were put in referee’s position.

Gooden was placed on bottom and needed to escape to win.  If he didn’t, Central Islip would win.  Still energetic after 7 minutes of wrestling, Gooden broke free after about 15 seconds and the crowd rained thunderous applause down upon him.

Bradshaw (0:53) and Paar (0:52) earned rare sub-minute pins, while Jack Sullivan (189) took his time, getting the fall in 5:26.  Delva finished up with a lopsided decision.

While many of the team’s wrestlers were in first or second grade when the winning streak began in January 1995, they were nevertheless pleased with both their individual and team performances. “I’m happy with how I wrestled today,” Sangiovanni said. “It’s great that we were able to set a new record.  We’re proud of it.”

Mat Notes: Huntington’s winning streak will be put on the line this Friday (Jan. 30) when the Blue Devils host Hauppauge at 4:30 p.m. . . . The final match of the season will be wrestled at Islip next Friday (Feb. 6) at 7 p.m. . . . The Islip meet is expected to decide the league championship . . . Huntington will host the league tournament on Saturday, February 14 beginning at 9:30 a.m.  The top three place finishers in each weight class will advance to the Section XI Tournament the following weekend at SUNY Stony Brook.