Although winning is nice, that is not the main focus of our program. Our main objective is to help mold and make young men, something larger than just points on a scoreboard. Wrestling teaches you about life in so many ways; it teaches you dedication, builds confidence, teaches you how to compete and gives you the tools to deal with what life is really all about, dealing with adversity.
Wrestling is a battle between two athletes who have strong wills. When it comes down to it, it’s either them or you and you are the one that has to be standing at the end. The thing is though, that person has to earn it. It’s not that he deserves it, he doesn’t deserve anything. The only thing you deserve is what you’ve earned and the Island Trees wrestling team has done just that. Earning the title, “Undefeated Conference Champions” after coming out victorious over the #2 ranked Seaford Vikings 38-34.
Before the match senior Matt Gund was recognized for recording his 100th win of his high school wrestling career, defeating Zack Kornberg of Lynbrook in the previous match by major decision 12-0. Matt dominated the match from the start and helped the Bulldogs defeat the #3 ranked Lynbrook Owls 42-30. The Bulldogs earned a hard fought victory which set the stage for another chance to win the conference title.
Since 2009, the bulldogs have had the opportunity year in and year out to compete for Conference Championship. Finishing second in 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2014 and winning it in 2011, 2012, 2015. For the past two years the Bulldogs lost a close match to rival Seaford 34-33 on the final match, both years. This year, those losses were avenged with a gritty, hard fought, tough as nails performance.
Joe Sarchie would ignite the Bulldogs with huge victory winning by decision 4-2. Tyler Butrico, Tommy Ryan, Matt Gund, Chris Donnelly and Joe Bohorquez pummeled their Seaford opponents into the mat, giving the Bulldogs 29 points. Kyle Herguth, Tom Nicolino, Kevin McDonough, and Paul Parada wrestled extremely tough giving the Seaford wrestlers all they can handle. Chris Williams and Sean Morris pulled out the gutsiest wrestling performances of the night winning under pressure in a crucial part of the match.
With the score at 32-28, Island Trees leading, senior Joe Bohorquez would put Seaford’s 220 pound wrestler on his neck to seal and clinch the match at 38-28. It was an absolute impressive performance that will never be forgotten. All the intense practices, long hours, scouting, extra training, paid off and the victory was a total effort by every wrestler and coach. We deserve everything we accomplished because we all do it together.
The success of the team has reached state wide status. The New York High School Sports Writers have ranked Island Trees #8 in New York State (small schools). Being acknowledged as one of the top teams in the county and state is not to be taken for granted, nor is it something that is easy to achieve.
The Bulldogs will enter the playoffs as one of the top seeds in the entire county. As the county tournament draws closer, Island Trees will look to send multiple wrestlers up to the states and be in county championship contention, something that hasn’t been accomplished since the 70s.
I would like to thank all the following people for all their tireless efforts and support: Pete Butrico, wrestling parents, administration, board of education members, alumni, youth wrestlers, and middle school wrestlers, Coach Vinberg, Coach Cangro, Coach Scheurlein, Coach Brush, Coach Cataldo and Coach Garcia. Go Dogs!
—Coach Lou Tuorto