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Bill Landon

 

 

The Newfield boys fencing team had their hands full in their season opener at home where the Wolverines fell to visiting Sayville 17-10 on Jan. 16. Unlike past seasons, the gym was eerily quiet in the age of COVID-19 as no spectators were permitted. Newfield was back out on their home strip two days later where they out-paced Commack 18-9 to even their early season. 

 

The Eagles of Rocky Point faced a formidable Comsewogue squad in the opening week of League IV bowling action at Port Jeff Bowl Jan 14. Despite falling to the Warriors 29.5 — 3.5, Eagles head coach Anthony Vertuccio, who fields a young roster, said a bright spot on the day was senior Sean Vogel. Sean has tremendous potential this season but was also impressed by his 8th grader along with three 10th graders.

Comsewogue retakes the lanes Jan 21 on the road against Middle Country at AMF Centereach Lanes at 3:30 p.m.

The Eagles were back in action Jan. 19 where they hit the road against East Hampton at The All Star lanes in Riverhead. Results were not available as of press time.

Above photo of Comsewogue junior Steven Orland; bottom photo of Comsewogue senior Joshua Rivera.

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Ward Melville High School’s boys swim team members hit the road in a League I matchup against Brentwood Jan. 15, and despite many first-year swimmers, the Patriot’s inked a 67-43 victory.

Ward Melville coach Chris Gordon said his team is very young and inexperienced but likes his team’s efforts in practice and is impressed with their attitude at their meets. Gordon stated that Brentwood has been especially impacted by COVID-19 with a smaller roster size but added they’ve not lost their energy and enthusiasm whenever they face the Patriots, adding that hopefully their numbers will bounce back next year.

The Patriots retake the pool Jan. 19 with an away meet against Half Hollow Hills.

Section XI in concert with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association approved the return of moderate to low-risk high school varsity competition which has been dormant since mid-March.

The Smithtown boys bowling team opened their season on the road against Northport in varsity bowling action at Larkfield Lanes Jan 12, and despite being edged out by the Tigers in the first two games, rallied in the third to squeak out a 17.5 to 15.5 victory.

Smithtown coach Rob Aplin said his boys never gave up — after dropping the first two games. He added that he was “very proud of the way (his team) performed and is looking forward to a great season.”

Northport coach Chris Cascone liked what he saw with returning senior captain Jack Maldavir, who has averaged over 200 so far, along with teammate Andrew Becker, who rolled a 251 in game two. Sophomore Aidan Kolbe rolled a 245 in the first game for a 670 triple along with junior Chris Lageraaen, who finished with a 619-series complemented by a solid performance by 11th grader Justin Marques.

Smithtown’s Kyle Perillo, a junior, rolled a 694 against Northport. Coach Aplin said Perillo has been the anchor of the team since day one. Smithtown’s Kevin Ramachandran is a junior and three-year varsity bowler. Smithtown junior Timothy Schiraldi, who coach Aplin said is the spark plug of the team, rolled a 3-game series of 706. Smithtown’s Jake Ryan, the lone senior on the squad, has been a consistent and solid bowler for the last four years, according to coach Aplin, who added he’ll be irreplaceable next season.

Northport who beat Half Hollow Hills the day before drop to 1-1 in the early going as Smithtown opens at 1-0 in League III.

The Miller Place Panthers thought they would never play an inning of baseball when the COVID-19 -pandemic cancelled the spring season. That is, until the Town of Brookhaven hosted the Wood Bat Tournament July 8 through 12. The Panthers shook off the cobwebs, got down to business and never looked back.

They defeated Half Hollow Hills West 3-1 in the first round of pool play, picked off Westhampton 6-1 in the second round and edged East Hampton in a 1-0 shutout Saturday. Because of inclement weather on Friday all teams payed doubleheaders and the Panther’s blew out Sayville 12-1 later in the day and qualified for the championship round against Hauppauge. Despite falling behind early, the Panther offense came to life to erase the deficit winning the game 4-3 and with it, the Class A Championship crown.

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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.