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Mount Sinai Mustangs

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Quarterback Brandon Ventarola in traffic in the Mustangs semi-final playoff win against Babylon Nov. 15. Bill Landon photo

The No. 1 seeded Mustangs of Mount Sinai outran Babylon, the No. 4 seed, in the Division IV semi-final round overwhelming their opponent 28-6 to punch their ticked to the County Championship. Mount Sinai quarterback Brandon Ventarola led the way for the Mustangs with two rushing touchdowns and a 45-yard touchdown pass to Derek Takacs. Sophomore Joseph Spallina scored on short yardage to keep the Mustang’s undefeated record intact at 10-0.

The County Championship will be a rematch of week five where Mount Sinai will replay the No. 2 seeded Wildcats of Shoreham Wading River at Stony Brook University Sunday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. Tickets at the gate are $10.00 or are available for $8.00 online here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

Peyton Buckholtz a senior challenges Mount Sinai 8th grader Taylor Pedra in a Div. II matchup Oct. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

It was all Harborfields in a Division II road game against Mount Sinai where the Tornadoes blew through the Mustangs, 5-0, Oct. 22. 

The juniors led the way for Harborfields when Katie Davis scored twice along with Kathryn Morgan and Taylor Sammis who both stretched the net. Ruby Sember, the freshman, also put one through to round out the scoring for the Tornadoes with one game remaining before postseason play.

Harborfields senior keeper Zoe Krief had three saves in net and teammate Kristina Hansen a freshman stopped two. Hailey Covington had eight saves for the Mustangs and teammate Alaina Riley stopped four.

Mount Sinai concludes their regular season with a senior night home game against West Babylon Oct. 24 in a must-win game for any hopes of postseason play. Game time is 6 p.m.

Harborfields also concludes their regular season needing a win on the road against Bayport-Blue Point Oct. 24, with a 4:30 p.m. start.

Mount Sinai dominated their homecoming game through three quarters of play out scoring the visiting Royals 33-6 before Port Jeff rallied in the final quarter. Royals’ quarterback Luke Filippi (filling in for the injured Sam Florio) found senior Aidan Kaminska on a pair of short yardage pass plays for his 2nd and 3rd touchdown in the game where the senior set a Section XI record with 17 catches for 233 yards placing him 2nd in total receptions in a single game.

But despite Kaminska’s record the Royals fell to the Mustangs 39-20 Sept. 28.

Mount Sinai sophomore running back Joseph Spallina led the way with a16-yard run, a 23-yard pass reception and an 85-yard interception all finding the end-zone for the Mustangs. Senior quarterback Brandon Ventarola punched in from short yardage, while Matthew LoMonaco scored on a 14-yard pass play and Michael Trepeta found the end-zone on a 3-yard run.

Junior Alex Ledesma’s solid boot put up two PAT’s for the Royals in addition to Kaminska’s record making set of catches.

The win boosts the Mustangs to 4-0, tied with Shoreham Wading River in their division at the season’s halfway point.

The loss puts Port Jeff 1-3 in league. Their next game is set for Oct. 5 for homecoming weekend, where they expect to face Greenport at home with a 2 p.m. start time.

Mount Sinai looks to keep their perfect record intact when they hit the road Oct. 12 to face undefeated Shoreham-Wading River, for sole possession of first place in League IV. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.

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By Bill Landon

The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats football team will don the Suffolk County crown for a fourth time in five years after defeating the Mount Sinai Mustangs, 28-21, at LaValle Stadium, Stony Brook University Nov. 16 in the Division IV final. The Wildcats will play on for the Long Island championship Nov. 23 at Stony Brook against Cold Spring Harbor.

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Mount Sinai wrestlers Matt Campo, Mike Sabella, Robert Christ, Joe O’Brien and Jason Shlonsky with their Suffolk County championship brackets. Photo from Karen Campo

Robert Christ’s story is one head coach Matt Armstrong will be telling for a long time.

In the senior’s first two seasons on Mount Sinai’s wrestling team, the 285-pound grappler didn’t win a single match. Now, he’s a county champion.

Christ was one of five Mustangs to grab gold last weekend at the Suffolk County Division II championship at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.

Christ looked to his coaches for guidance, knowing they’d been to the county and state tournaments, but according to Armstrong, his wrestler deserves all of the credit.

Campo maintains control over an opponent during a previous match. Photo by Bill Landon

“We pointed to him all season as an example of what wrestling and sports are all about — through hard work you can achieve anything,” Armstrong said. “The fact that he’s doing as well as he is — it’s a great story. It shows if you don’t like where you are, just work harder and you can achieve great things. He’s in a 285-pound weight class when he weighs 220 pounds, so he’s given up a lot, but nobody works harder than him.”

Christ won his qualifying match 1-0, edged out his semifinal competitor 1-0 and claimed a 3-0 decision over his final opponent of the tournament.

Although he’d faced his semifinal competitor before, he came out tougher than Christ expected, but the finals match was what had him on edge.

“The first match was at 9 a.m. and I had to wait until 8 p.m. that night for my finals match, thinking about it the entire time,” he said. “I remember being out there wrestling — I couldn’t believe I was on that mat. I was nervous, I didn’t want to mess up, but I tried not to let the nerves get to me. To pull away with the win was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in sports. You put in so much time and effort into one thing and after so many months and years to finally have it pay off was awesome.”

Christ was new to the county stage, and so was teammate Mike Sabella.

A sophomore, the 182-pounder was one of the youngest on the team to take the trip upstate. Freshman Matt Campo also finished atop the podium.

“I’ve learned how to overcome my obstacles and win big matches, and that’s due in part to our great seniors who are really good role models for the underclassmen.”

—Matt Campo

Sabella was overwhelmed by the enormous crowd he was going to compete in front of, but made his way through his qualifier round and semifinal matchup with pins in the first and second period.

“Getting those pins reassured me that I was in the tournament for a reason,” he said. “Knowing I was facing some of the best kids in the county was a confidence booster.”

Campo also came away with three pins in the tournament. For the 113-pounder, who has been on the team since seventh grade, making weight was the hardest part of the two-day tournament.

“Our team is really tough,” said Campo, who was a league champion last year. “I wrestle guys who are usually stronger than me, so I have to out-technique them. I’ve learned how to overcome my obstacles and win big matches, and that’s due in part to our great seniors who are really good role models for the underclassmen.”

Sabella can relate to that. He worked primarily with one of the team’s leaders, Jason Shlonsky, who was the Champion of Champions at the tournament and had the most pins in the least amount of time.

“I usually wrestle defensively, and he’s a goon on offense, so whenever Jay would try to shoot, I would try to find a way to defend it,” Sabella said. “Knowing he was a very good wrestler — wrestling him for the last couple of months got me really ready for counties. I went in with the mindset that I should be winning.”

He credits the work he put in with Shlonsky as the reason he won his finals match — a 3-2 decision.

“I’d wrestled the kid before and he knew what I was doing, so it was hard to get the shots I wanted,” he said. “I had to switch to some different moves, which is where wrestling with Jay all year helped me.”

Shlonsky said he’s learned just as much from Sabella as his teammate did from him.

Shlonsky has his arm raised following his win. Photo from Karen Campo

“He and I got really close throughout the season and we both helped each other out,” he said. “We have different styles, so learning how to work with those different styles was important for both of us.”

The Champion of Champions was an ideal Mustang for Sabella to pair with. Although he took a year off from wrestling his junior year, the 170-pounder went 28-0 in his final season, with 25 wins coming from pins. Although he said he tries not to focus on winning or losing, he said that did play a factor in his first qualifying match, which earned him his 100th career win.

“I tried to keep a level head and focus on what I do best, rather than my opponent,” he said. “I go in telling myself that I need to worry about my own offense, and I’m constantly looking to score points. When I do that, things turn out in my favor.”

Joe O’Brien, at 132 pounds, also came away a county champion. In the finals, he wrestled Port Jefferson’s Vin Miceli, a year-round, accomplished wrestler.

“He really dominated,” Armstrong said of O’Brien. “Joe is really peaking at the right time. He looked very good and I’m excited to see what he can do at states this weekend.”

The Mustangs will be competing at the Times Union Center in Albany Feb. 24 and 25.

It’s already been a season to remember for Mount Sinai, but the boys are hoping to show New York what Suffolk County is made of.

“It’s a fairytale ending,” Shlonsky said of his season so far. “Coming back not being on the mat much was an unbelievable feeling. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”