By Jim Ferchland
Rocky Point’s Anthony Sciotto used his laser focus to come out with a 6-2 decision at 120 pounds in the county finals.
“I stay calm and collected during my matches,” said Sciotto, who picked up his 52nd win of the season and 189th of his career. “When I get stressed out and overthink my matches, that’s when I don’t do as well. I really go out there and do my thing.”
The senior’s victory over Eastport-South Manor’s Zach Redding propelled Rocky Point to the top of Division I at the Suffolk County wrestling finals at Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood campus Feb. 11. The Eagles, which finished with 137.5 points, took home their second straight team title.
Sciotto will be heading to the Naval Academy after he graduates.
“It’s been a dream since I was a little kid,” Sciotto said about joining the Navy. “I’ve always wanted to serve my country.”
Five matches later, junior Corey Connolly faced off against Half Hollow Hills West’s Anthony Dushaj and pinned him in the final seconds of the third period (5:48) for his 49th of the season and 153rd of his career.
“This was my best season most definitely,” Connolly said. “The journey has been amazing. I train with Anthony Volpe [an assistant coach and former Rocky Point 160-pound star] every day and he just pushes me where I go to be.”
Rocky Point head coach Darren Goldstein said it was a tough competition, but he wasn’t surprised that Sciotto and Connolly were at the top of the podium.
“Suffolk County is always a grind,” Goldstein said. “We were blessed in 2009 and 2010 to have three win it and then go on to win states. Anthony Sciotto, he’s been at this a long time with his second straight county title. Corey Connolly didn’t place in this tournament ever and had a huge chip on his shoulder. He’s really worked hard with our coaches. They had a game plan, they stuck to the game plan, and when you do that good things happen.”
“Anthony Sciotto, he’s been at this a long time with his second straight county title. Corey Connolly didn’t place in this tournament ever and had a huge chip on his shoulder.”
Volpe was one of those Eagles to travel upstate in 2010, and won. The five-time league champion is one of only three Rocky Point wrestlers to eclipse 200 wins.
Hauppauge sophomore Danny Mauriello hit one of the biggest moves of the tournament when he reversed Patchogue-Medford junior Ryan Burgbacher with five seconds remaining for the 5-4 win and the 145-pound title.
Sophomore Thomas DiResta of Kings Park reeled off five straight wins from an unseeded position, including a 3-0 upset of top-seeded Luke Smith of Hauppauge to capture the 99-pound title. The two battled through two scoreless periods before DiResta scored a third period escape for a 1-0 lead with 1:35 left in the match. Smith went for a dump and DiResta countered the move and scored his own takedown with 15 seconds remaining.
“We thought we could slow down Smith’s offense by being aggressive and keeping him in check,” said Kings Park coach Clark Crespi. “We felt we could close the gap with Smith and if Thomas executed our plan we felt he could be successful.”
It was redemption for DiResta, who was beaten by Smith, 8-0, during league action, and 11-2 in the League V finals.
Sciotto and Connolly will travel to Albany for the state championship Feb. 23 and 24 at Times Union Center.