Win Over C.I. Helps Blue Devil Wrestling Program Near 500 Wins
It won’t happen this season, but it’s only a matter
of time before the Huntington wrestling program wins its 500th
dual meet. This year’s Blue Devil mat team inched the program
closer last week with a 44-9 rout at Central Islip behind pins by
Charlie Paar (171 lbs.) and heavyweight Kelcy Perry.
The outcome of the meet was never really in any doubt
even though Huntington has struggled at times this season with many
new and relatively inexperienced wrestlers. In addition to the pins
by Paar and Perry, Brian Lifson and Justin Giani earned technical
falls and Francisco Pereira, Jon Dolan, Henry Hendrickson, Ira
Gooden and Matthew Vickers each won by decision. Central Islip sent
another six points Huntington’s way by forfeiting the 125 lb. weight
The non-league match gave many Huntington wrestlers
what they needed the most: Experience. “A lot of the guys just need
more time on the mat,” assistant coach Travis T. Smith said.
“They’re young and need to compete in order to get better. Everyone
is working hard in practice and getting in much better shape. We’re
This year’s squad is a lot different than last
year’s, to be sure. Gone are some of the best wrestlers in New
York, including state champion Shawn Riley, state runner-up Shaheim
Bradshaw and Suffolk champ Pierre Delva. While the current team
features seven wrestlers who are ranked among the best in Suffolk,
it also includes many who have never before been on the varsity.
“We are looking to have a real good showing in the
rest of our dual meets and then try and peak for the league, county
and state tournaments,” Smith said. If the Blue Devils can keep
wrestling like they did against Central Islip, the program will come
within a whisker of reaching the 500 win plateau and set the stage
for history to happen early next winter.
Huntington, coached by William Class, earned its
first wrestling dual meet victory Tuesday, February 23, 1937, edging
Garden City, 25-21. The program was discontinued due to a lack of
interest after the 1938 season. It made a comeback in 1951 under
coach Frank Kubisa and the program has achieved almost mythical
status in the years since.
The win over Central Islip gave the program an
all-time mark of 493-140-7 over 56 seasons. Giani has been head
coach for 389 of those victories (he has 20 other wins as coach of
Eastern Military Academy for career total of 409).
The Blue Devils travel to Hauppauge this Friday (Jan.
28) for a 6 p.m. match. Last winter Huntington defeated the Eagles,
48-9. After the match, the wrestlers will board a bus for Albany
where they will compete in the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday (Jan.
Next Wednesday (Feb. 2) Islip invades Blue Devil
Gymnasium in the biggest match of the season. The New York State
Sportswriters’ Association ranks the Buccaneers first in the state.
Huntington is ranked 16th in the same poll. Islip
defeated the Blue Devils last year, 36-21 to snap the team’s winning
streak at 81 straight dual meets, the longest in Suffolk wrestling