Port Jeff ready to take league title
For the first time in five years Mattituck lost a wrestling met.
Port Jefferson handed the Tuckers their first loss in five years, 37-32, at an away meet Dec. 22. Port Jefferson also topped Mattituck its last loss five years ago, according to head coach Mike Maletta.
Matt Murphy won a 7-0 decision over David Jenkins in the deciding match at 170 pounds. Anthony D’Elia picked up a key 9-3 win over Sean Feeney at 99 pounds for the Royals, and Jack Niederburger won 1-0 at 195 pounds.
“The kids felt great about it, I felt great about it,” Maletta said. “We fought well.”
He said his athletes felt even better when he said he’d cancel practice the next two days before holiday break.
“I told them on the bus ride home,” he said. “I think they were more excited because I gave them the next few days off from practice.”
At the next tournament at West Islip, the Royals took second out of 11 teams.
“We fell short of matching Brentwood, but it’s 20 times the size of our school,” Maletta said. “I’m proud of how we did.”
Port Jefferson’s 138-pounder Vin Miceli claimed his fourth straight West Islip tournament win, and Joey Evangelista was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler for being the other Port Jefferson grappler to place first after coming in second the last couple years.
“The success I’ve had so far has really proven that all the extra hard work and long hours I put into this sport is what separates me from champion and runner-up,” Miceli said. “I have the same mentality going into every tournament or match, no matter who I am wrestling, that I am predator and not the prey.”
Other key seniors this season have been Chris Lepore at 182 pounds, Joe Longo at 160 and Robbie Williams at 120, according to the head coach.
“Chris Lepore is a senior that’s been very important to us,” Maletta said. “Robbie Williams does a lot of extra work.”
Port Jefferson hosted Babylon Jan. 3, but results were not available by press time. The Royals will face Center Moriches on the road Jan. 5 in a league title-deciding meet currently scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
“I feel very confident that we can beat Center Moriches,” Miceli said. “The way we train and the knowledge we have in our coaching staff really helps prepare us for a time like this.”
Mattituck beat Center Moriches, so if Port Jefferson wins, they’ll win the league title for the first time since 2012.
“You get nostalgic,” Maletta said. “I’ve coached Vin and Joey since they were eighth-graders, half of my time coaching here, and it’s been great to see them become young men. I only wish for good things for all of these guys. We have a lot more wrestling to go, and the countdown is on.”