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Bill Landon

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Above, Mount Sinai senior Matt Campo won the day at the state wrestling championship March 1. Several other North Shore wrestlers placed on the day. Photo by Mel Jacoby

Like many students in the time of the coronavirus, Matt Campo, a senior at Mount Sinai High School, has had to wrestle with a lot, from having to take all schoolwork home, to planning for college not knowing what events will be like in just a few short months.

Mount Sinai’s Matt Campo in eighth grade. He started his career at 99 pounds and ends it at 170. Photo by Bill Landon

But Campo, at 170 pounds who early last month won the state championship against the No. 1 seeded wrestler in New York, the road has been long but worth it.

“Just making a name for myself in Mount Sinai — people know I’m a wrestling guy,” he said.

The path toward the championship started 6 years ago, when Campo joined the varsity team in 7th grade at 99 pounds. Mount Sinai wrestling head coach Matt Armstrong said that is rather rare, but Campo had quickly proved he was made of strong stuff.

“We knew early on he was very talented, and he always worked very hard,” Armstrong said. “His drive and his focus of winning a state championship got to be greater and greater, and he put in a lot of extra time and a lot of hard work.”

Joining the team in middle school, Campo said it was different than what he had seen before, with a new focus on the team dynamic. Though it would be the team-based mentality that would lead him to be class president for every year of his high school career.

Wrestling, to Campo, is a mental game. 

“In a match, every move has offense and a counter — you have to think three steps ahead,” he said. “Most wrestlers are extremely smart, the ability to have usually an edge over my opponent, it’s like a big chess match.”

At the Feb. 28 and 29 NYSPHSAA wrestling tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany, Campo would face his most formidable opponent, Mickey Squires of Norwich, the No. 1 seed. Squires had pulled off a win against Campo last year at the Windsor Christmas tournament where Squires won 6-4.  The finals was the seventh time Campo and Squires faced off, with Squires winning four and Campo winning two of those matches.

Armstrong said in the night before the match, he and his fellow coaches were discussing Campo’s prospects. Universally, it seemed every one of them were betting on Campo’s skills.

“We all thought Matt was going to win,” the coach said. “It was his work ethic and drive, he wrestled with the best kids and beat them or lost by a point or two. We just knew how focused he was, and thought he was gonna make that happen.” 

Matt Campo in 2018. Photo by Melvyn Jacoby

The match itself was an overtime nailbiter. It started with Squires scoring one point in the first period with an escape and took the lead 1-0.
Campo responded in the second period with a takedown, scoring two points and a 2-1 lead. Squires responded with a third-period escape, scoring one point. This tied the score at 2-2 and sent the match to overtime. The crowd was in a frenzy, knowing the first one to score would win the championship. In a dramatic finish, Campo scored two points on a takedown and won the match 4-2.

“It’s more I just go out there and just the ability to act and react in a match is what gives me an edge,” the wrestling champ said.

The tournament also represented a milestone for both him and Mount Sinai High School, leaving Albany with 200 wins under his belt. He is ending his high school wrestling career with 202 wins, a school record.

Beyond the mat, Campo has also started his own business that he’s now run for several years. Called Campo Creations, he does balloon twisting for parties and other events. It started several years ago, when he was bored in his room and started watching YouTube videos about making balloon animals. Though he is still getting calls during the ongoing pandemic, he said he has not been able to get out to do the job. 

After he graduates high school, he said he has plans to attend Siena College, going into the pediatric neurology program. He said he wants to become a pediatric neurologist, specifically because of his interest in the brain and his continuing desire to work with and help children.

Though Armstrong said the team is going to be missing Campo, along with a bevy of other seniors who are graduating this year, he thought Campo has the ability to accomplish anything.

“He definitely has drive and focus,” the coach said. “When he sets his mind to something, he’s gonna do it.”

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Port Jefferson struggled to stay with Carle Place in the Long Island Championship round March 6 where the Lady Royals trailed by six after the first 8 minutes of play. They then went down by 16 at the half, and the Frogs never let up the rest of the way to put the game away 70-42 at Newfield High School.

Carle Place advances to the Regional finals March 15. 

Port Jeff concludes their season as League VII champions with a 13-3 league record, adding post season victories against Babylon and Mattituck to reach the LIC title game. 

The Royals — a very young team — will lose just two seniors to graduation, including Jacqueline Lambe and Samantha Ayotte, and if the bulk of the remaining roster returns Port Jeff stands to be the powerhouse in their league again next season.

It was fun for all ages at the annual Mount Sinai faculty basketball game March 6. Bill Landon photo

The Mount Sinai middle school All-Stars squared off against the high school Elite varsity squad in the annual Battle of the Educators faculty basketball game March 6. The fundraiser was organized by Diane Tabile and Carmella Stein, the respective president and treasurer of the Mount Sinai Booster Club, and again drew a capacity crowd for the 18th year running.

The Northport Tigers hit the ground running against Westhampton for the overall Section XI title game. The team was leading from the start to finish, beating the Hurricanes 72-45 March 5 at Ward Melville High School.

Senior Danielle Pavinelli led the way for the Tigers with three triples, four from the floor and a pair of free throws for a team high 19 points. Kerry Dennin, a senior, followed with 13 as did sophomore Sophia Yearwood. Teammate Sophia Bica netted 11 and senior Kelly McLaughlin banked 10.

Northport retakes the court for the Class AA Long Island championship round to take on the Nassau County champion at St. Joseph’s College March 15. Tickets are $10.00 at the door or $8.00 on line here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

Game time is 4:00pm.

It was the best of the best competing in the Long Island Elite Meet at St. Anthony’s High School Saturday, Feb. 29.

Ward Melville senior Megan Wood shined in the final event before states. Wood tossed a pair of throws 43 feet, 6 inches along with 42’11” good enough for third in the weight throw event but was the class of the field in the shot put throwing 42’3” and a pair of 41’4” for the top spot in the event against competitors from all over Long Island.

Wood has her sights set for her next competition at the New York State Championships at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island.

“The next step is to show up to states and be a competitor next Saturday,” Wood said. “I’ll try to get in some higher reps in the beginning of the week but then we’ll tone it down so I’m well rested for the day”.

Teammate Allison D’Angio, a senior, clocked at 9.44 in the 55-meter hurdle event, and sophomore Arianna Gilbride placed fourth in the 300 dash in the Frosh/Soph event with 43.70.

Kings Park senior Richard Mangogna cleared 13 feet 3 inches in the pole vault event, placing him seventh overall in the Long Island Elite Meet at St. Anthony’s High School Feb. 29.

Teammate Sam Estherson, a junior, competed in the 55m hurdle event with a time of 8.17 seconds and clocked in at 8.98 at the 60m distance.

 

 

 

 

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Northport showed why they’re the No. 1 seed in the girls Class AA semifinal against the No. 4 seed Patriots of Ward Melville, surging ahead by 13 at the half Feb. 22, then stretching that lead to 20 points after three quarters to win it, 69-53, at Centereach High School.

Northport sophomore Sophia Yearwood topped the scoring chart for the Tigers with two triples, four from the floor and a free throw for 15 points. Sophomore Sophia Bica netted 14, and seniors Danielle Pavinelli and Kelly McLaughlin banked 13 and 12, respectively, for the Tigers.

Ward Melville senior Jamie Agostino scored 14 points, as did freshman Julia Greek, and senior Sarah Bucher netted 11 for the Patriots.

Ward Melville finished their season with an impressive 12-3 league record, 17-5 overall.

The win lifts the Tigers to the Suffolk Class AA title game against No. 2 Longwood at St. Joseph’s College Feb. 29.

Tickets are $10.00 cash at the door. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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Northport led by two in the closing seconds of the game Feb. 25 when Commack intentionally fouled Sean Walsh with six seconds left. Senior Walsh went to the line and swished both to seal the deal for the 49-45 victory in the Class AA semifinal at Longwood High School.

Walsh topped the scoring chart for the Tigers with five triples, two from the floor and his final appearance at the charity stripe for 21 points. Teammate Pat Healy finished with 10 points, and senior Larry Citrola chipped in nine.

Commack senior Spencer Malloy led his team with 17 points, and senior Nick Greco netted 15 to conclude the Cougars’ season at 11-2, 16-5 overall.

The win lifts No. 2 Northport to 13-0 in league, 20-1 overall, and advance to the county finals where they’ll face top seeded Brentwood at Farmingdale State College Feb. 28. Tickets are $10 cash at the door. Game time is 8:30 p.m.

 

 

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The Royals WIN 42-28 for the Suffolk Class B title at Centereach High School defeating Mattituck Feb. 21. Bill Landon photo

The Port Jefferson Royals broke out to an early lead and never took their foot off the gas in the Suffolk County Class B championship game Feb. 21, ending Mattituck’s season 42-28 at Centereach High School.

Ahead by six at the half, the Royals pulled ahead by a dozen points after three quarters. They were led by Evelyn Walker, a junior, who swished three triples, a field goal and a pair of free throws to lead her team with 13 points. Sophomore Abigail Rolfe banked nine and senior Samantha Ayotte netted seven as did freshman teammate Lola Idir.

The Royals live to play another day when they take on Pierson for the right to contest the overall small school Suffolk title Feb. 25 at St. Joseph’s college. Game time is 5:30pm.

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Ward Melville led by 14 points at one point, only to have East Islip rally back in the third quarter to retake the lead by two in a Class AA quarterfinal. The Patriots held off the late game surge by the Lady Redmen holding on to win it, 58-56, at home Feb. 19.

Ward Melville senior Morgan Wenzler battled in the paint leading her team in rebounds along with several put-backs to top the scoring chart with 18 points. Julia Greek, a freshman, did her damage from long distance draining three triples, a field goal and three from the charity stripe netting 14 points. Senior Sarah Bucher had a triple and five from the floor for 13, and teammate Jamie Agostino, a sophomore, banked nine.

The win propels the Patriots (No. 5 seed) to the semi-final round where they’ll square off against top seeded Northport at Centereach High School Feb. 22. Tickets can be purchased for $8 online at gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI or purchased at the gate for $10, cash only.

Game time is 2:30 p.m.

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Having lost to Riverhead by a single point back in December, the Patriots had a score to settle in the opening round of the playoffs. Settle it they did Feb. 13, torching the Blue Waves, 75-55, in the Suffolk AA quarterfinal.

The Patriots scored first, building an 11-point lead after eight minutes, up 16 points at the half and then never looked back the rest of the way. Senior guard Jack Holland did what he’s done all season leading the Patriots with 22 points. Teammate Giancarlo Serratore netted 18, while Ted Bliznakov banked 10. The Patriots 3-point game was devastating where Serratore and Holland nailed four treys each while Luke McIlvaine banked two for the win.

The No. 9 seeded Patriots (8-5) will have their work cut out for them on another road game when they collide with No. 1 seed Brentwood (13-0) Feb. 20. Game time is 6 p.m.