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Mount Sinai

The new east jetty at Mount Sinai harbor. Photo by Gerard Romano

After nearly eight months of work and years and years of consternation, reconstruction of the Mount Sinai Jetty has finally come to completion, with work crews having already moved on by mid-May and a few check-box items still to be finalized. 

Photographer Gerard Romano took the original picture Sept. 20, 2017. The latest picture was taken May 13, showing a dramatic difference in size and shape of the east jetty. Photos by Romano

The Jetty Project has been a long time coming. For years, both the east and west jetty have been largely submerged at high tide, with both water and sand leaking through breaks in the stones and settling into the mouth of Mount Sinai Harbor. Port Jefferson’s East Beach has been seeing a rapid loss of sand in the past few years, and village officials have said much of that sand is ending up in the harbor inlet. 

In September 2016, the town received $3 million in a Dormitory Authority of the State of New York grant, originally secured thanks to the help of New York state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson).

Last year, the Town of Brookhaven hired H&L Contracting with a $7.4 million bid to complete the project. The construction workers worked through the winter months repairing and replacing stones on both the east and west sides of the jetty. That number was revised in late February, with an additional $868,000 for a total contract amount of $8,297,782.50. Construction began last September and ramped up over the following months.

Photographer Gerard Romano took the original picture Sept. 20, 2017. The latest picture was taken May 13, showing a dramatic difference in size and shape of the east jetty. Photos by Romano

Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point), who has been the main town point-person on the project for over a decade, said the extra funds were for extra contingencies, but the final project still comes in under the original estimates of $10 million.

With this part of the project complete, the last step is for Suffolk County to complete dredging of the inlet. 

Joe Palumbo, the Port Jefferson village administrator, said they have not yet heard word from the county about dredging.

“This is a project the village is monitoring closely and will continue to,” Palumbo said.

Bonner added that the new jetty will not only be a boon to the beachgoers and boaters, but to the surrounding wildlife. The broken jetties have caused issues with the harbor’s ability to “flush” or how the water flows in and out of Long Island Sound.

“That’s the most significant part of this,” the councilwoman said.

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Riley Smith of Miller Place High School and Matthew Campo of Mount Sinai High School were named the 2020 Mount Sinai – Miller Place Chamber Alliance Scholarship Recipients. Photos from MSMP Chamber

The 2020 Mount Sinai – Miller Place Chamber Alliance Scholarship winners this year are Riley Smith of Miller Place High School and Matthew Campo of Mount Sinai High School. Each student will receive a $500 scholarship towards furthering their education or business. Applicants were asked to submit an essay detailing how they would use the award to achieve their goals, a description of any community service or volunteer work they have participated in, and two letters of recommendation. Applications were then reviewed by the Mount Sinai – Miller Place Chamber Alliance scholarship committee.

“My sincerest congratulations to Riley and Matthew for earning this award,” said Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai). “It is important students realize that hard work and determination are necessary to reach your goals, and Riley and Matthew serve as examples for their peers. I look forward to seeing their future accomplishments.”

Riley plans to use her scholarship towards her education at Stony Brook University, where she will be studying to become a research biologist in order to help preserve the environment. Matthew will be using his award to further his balloon art business, which he has done voluntarily through partnerships with Atria Assisted Living in Setauket, Little Flower Adoption and Services Agency, and Angela’s House to bring joy and hope to the elderly, children with special needs, and their families.

For more information on the Mount Sinai – Miller Place Chamber Alliance and its scholarship fund, visit www.msmpchamber.com.

Members of the Sound Beach Fire Department at the Memorial Day commemoration 2019. Photo by Kyle Barr

Even as County Executive Steve Bellone (D) awaits word on a possible policy change that would enable flag placement on Memorial Day for veterans buried at National Cemeteries, he has partnered with 15 non-veteran cemeteries to schedule flag placements on Saturday, May 23.

The County will work with local Boy Scout Troops and Veterans organizations to conduct the flag placements.

The Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency is working with local Boy Scouts to identify the sites for flag placement and with the Suffolk County Health Department to create safety procedures that will meet state and federal guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those who are placing flags to honor veterans will pick up flags at safe distances of six feet and will be required to wear face coverings.

Bellone is asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to donate the thousands of flags it purchased that would typically show appreciation for veterans at national cemeteries.

The county executive wrote a letter last week to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, requesting an amendment for the suspended honors at Calverton National Cemetery and Long island National Cemetery. Suffolk County has more veterans than any other count in New York State.

“This plan demonstrates that we can safely conduct group flag placements to honor our Veterans while protecting the public health,” Bellone said in a statement.

The participating cemeteries are:

• Washington Memorial Park Cemetery, Mount Sinai

• Union Cemetery, Middle Island

• St. John’s the Evangelist Cemetery, Riverhead

• Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, Southampton

• Mt Pleasant Cemetery and Crematory, Center Moriches

• Huntington Rural Cemetery, Huntington

• Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Coram

• Queen of All Saints Cemetery, Central Islip

• First Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Southold

• Shaarey Pardes Accabonac Grove Cemetery, East Hampton

• St. Ann’s Episcopal Church Cemetery, Sayville

• North Babylon Cemetery, Babylon

• Babylon Rural Cemetery, Babylon

• St. Patricks Cemetery, Smithtown

• Our Lady of the Isle Cemetery, Dering Harbor

File photo

Suffolk County Police said a man was killed in Coram Wednesday, May 13 after he was struck by a car.

Police said a Shoreham man was allegedly driving a 2010 Mercedes northbound on North Ocean Avenue, near Hawkins Road, when the vehicle struck William Moschetto, 33 of Mount Sinai, who walked into the roadway into the path of the vehicle at around 12:15 p.m.

Moschetto was taken via ambulance to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the crash to call the 6th Squad at 631-854-8652.

The Mount Sinai Fire Department held a ceremony for Wilson two days after his death. Photo from Mount Sinai Fire Department Facebook

Walter Wilson, a chief at the Mount Sinai Fire Department and longtime firefighter, passed away April 27. He was 80 and had just recently celebrated his birthday before
his passing.

Walter Wilson. Photo by Kevin Redding

Wilson joined the Mount Sinai Fire Department eight years ago, and when he passed away, he was the captain of the fire police Company 4. The 1st Mount Sinai Assistant Chief Randy Nelson said after joining, Wilson quickly became a “staple of leadership within the department, whether it was senior members or new members who were only serving a couple months or years.”

On his birthday, despite his ailments, Wilson stood in his yard as both the fire department and a steady stream of cars from the community rolled by his house to celebrate him turning 80.

In a previous article from 2017 in the Village Beacon Record, Walter Wilson, then 77, was described as a former utilities manager at Stony Brook University and volunteer who came out of retirement to join the firehouse after serving the Yaphank Fire Department for 26 years. There he had served as an officer in the ranks and commissioner of the Yaphank Fire District. He told the reporter at the time of the article that once a fireman, always a fireman.

“I had taken about a 10-year break [between Yaphank and Mount Sinai] and retired, but every time a siren went off in the neighborhood, my wife would say to me, ‘you’re like a dog on a porch, getting ready to go chase cars,’” said Wilson. “But it’s great. I got back in, and I love it.”

The Mount Sinai Fire Department held a ceremony April 29 for the fallen captain, with fire trucks rolling out in front of the firehouse on Mount Sinai-Coram Rd underneath a giant American flag and onto North Country road.

“Your kind heart and dedication to the fire department and the community will never be forgotten,” the fire department wrote on Facebook. “May you Rest In Peace Wally we will take it from here.” 

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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.”

Landlord of MS Property Also Owns Historic Derelict House in Port Jeff

The house at 63 Shore Road is owned by TAB Suffolk Acquistions, the same company that owns a historic derelict house in Port Jefferson on Sheep Pasture Road. Photo by Kyle Barr

Though it is just one of a huge slate of derelict homes the Town of Brookhaven deals with on a monthly basis, one house in Mount Sinai has been causing more issues than others recently.

At the Feb. 27 Town Board meeting, the council members voted to demolish a garage located at 63 Shore Drive in Mount Sinai, though the house would remain untouched.

The garage at 63 Shore Drive in Mount Sinai will soon be taken down if the property owner does not file permits. Photo by Kyle Barr

This set off a press of neighbors angry the Town would not be touching the residential part of the property, which they said has been a problem property for years.

Lynn Capobianco, a Mount Sinai resident and previous president of the school board, said while she appreciates the Town coming in with work crews to keep the property somewhat tame, the issue with the house remains.

“We’ve been saying that for a long time — it’s only in the last year the Town has started to listen,” she said.

In a 2019 report by Hauppauge-based firm Cashin Spinelli and Ferretti LLC, the building was cited as being “in extremely poor condition,” with the inside filled with trash and debris. Additionally, ceilings were collapsing due to water damage, with engineers also suspecting mold. The inspectors cited the property for multiple fire and safety violations. The house was originally boarded up after the report in June 2019. 

Town officials said another reconnaissance of the property was done Feb. 24 of this year. Inspectors did not go into the residential portion of the property, said Brendan Sweeney, who works for the Town, often presenting to the board about these zombie homes. He also said the new analysis by the inspector, “did not certify the house was unsafe.” 

The garage was reportedly collapsing with a building full of debris and garbage. Town officials said inspectors recommended the garage be torn down. The owner has 30 days to file permits showing he’s making an effort to fix the garage before the building is removed.

Some local residents took umbrage with this, citing the 2019 engineering report and their own personal dealings with the property. Several cited issues such as young people exploring the empty structure and animals inhabiting within. 

Kerry Hogan, a neighbor who has worked in and taught construction arts, said on visits to the property the damage was such that the best recourse is to simply tear it down and build something new.

“Once I saw [the] condition, I knew I would not bid on the house when it became available,” she said at the meeting.

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) directed all inquiries about the house and plans for demolition to the law department.

Town attorney Annette Eaderesto said the Town senior building inspector went to the house Feb. 24 and saw that the garage was in immediate danger of collapse, while the house wasn’t. 

“This is not the first time we’ve taken down a shed or garage instead of the main residence first,” she said. 

Part of the process, the Town attorney said, takes into account the house is in a transitional historic area. That requires a review from the Historic District Advisory Committee, which meets the second Tuesday of every month. The process is the same whether the building is in the transition zone or the historic district.

Edna Giffen, the recording secretary of the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society, said the transition zone is basically a buffer between the Town and the main historic district in Mount Sinai. While the rules affecting property are laxer in the transition zone than the main historic district, she confirmed the Town’s advisory committee still has to look at every permit for property in both. 

Still, she said it was a shame to watch it and other houses deteriorate. Two other buildings, one in the main historic and the other in the transition zone, have been taken down by the Town since 2012 and the impact of Superstorm Sandy.

“It’s a sad situation it was allowed to deteriorate so much,” she said. “It’s like watching an old poor soul die a slow death.” 

Town of Brookhaven notices of the public hearing and the stop-work order when the owner attempted to repair the roof. Photo by Kyle Barr

Since the 2008 mortgage crisis and subsequent recession, the Town has been inundated with thousands of these derelict or zombie homes. Brookhaven has taken the unique approach to dealing with the situation by taking care of flagrant properties, mowing the grass and boarding up homes, then putting liens on these properties. If owners cannot be reached or cannot handle reconstituting the property, then the Town will hire contractors to demolish them, putting the cost as additional liens on the property.

However, in this case, Town officials said they have come across hiccups due to the historic nature of the surrounding area. This does not mean the Town would not be able to demolish the full property in the future.

At the Feb. 27 meeting, Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Bonner both said they would like to do an additional engineering report on the property.

Neighbors also said the owner had brought in unlicensed contractors to fix the building’s roof in 2018, but after calls from residents the Town had put a stop-work order on that construction.

The property is owned by TAB Suffolk Acquisitions, an elusive real estate company reportedly based at 63 George St. in Roslyn Heights, according to the Town. Local officials, including from Port Jefferson village and state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), have been on the hunt for the company owner as it has also purchased a derelict property at 49 Sheep Pasture Road in Port Jefferson. That house has significant historic worth, according to local historians. The assemblyman interjected before the property could be demolished by the village, and the house has remained boarded up ever since.

Sweeney said the owner of 63 Shore Drive had come to the meeting but left without speaking. He did not get the owner’s name. 

Councilman Dan Panico (R-Manorville) said TAB Suffolk Acquisitions has bought up a lot of property in Suffolk foreclosures, according to their data from the comptroller’s office. Bonner criticized the company for sitting on such properties and not doing anything with them.

“There’s a lot of money coming out of the city and western Nassau — there’s a lot of property being bought up,” Panico said. “This is one of those companies that buys up a ton of houses.”

Neighbors said they knew the owner only as “Sam.” They said he has been cordial in the past but has largely been absent.

When called, the person on the other end who confirmed he was the owner of the property said they are in the process of getting permits from the Town to fix up the property, “within 30 days.”

He spoke about his prior attempts to fix the roof before the Town put a stop-work order on those repairs. As to residents’ complaints, he said residents have known and stayed silent on the state of the house for longer than recent efforts to demolish it.

“The house has been in this shape for years,” he said.

After he said his name was Sam, he hung up the phone and did not answer further calls for comment. 

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Seniors Aaron Angress and Kayla McFadden are the school’s first National Merit Scholar finalists. Photo by David Luces

For the first time in its history, Mount Sinai High School earned the distinction of having two National Merit Scholarship Program finalists in its ranks. 

Seniors Kayla McFadden and Aaron Angress were named finalists earlier last month. 

“When we first found out it was definitely a big moment for us,” McFadden said. “We were pretty taken aback that we made it so far and that there are two of us.” 

“Stay true to who you are, stick to what you have been doing and you will definitely find some opportunities.”

— Kayla McFadden

 

Angress added that it was a great honor to be selected.

The process of becoming a finalist began when they took the Preliminary SAT. 

“This wasn’t really on our radar until our junior year, when our teachers started to tell us that your PSAT [score] can get you this scholarship,” McFadden said. 

In September 2019, the duo were named semifinalists in the competition for scoring in the top 1 percent of all juniors completing the PSAT in October 2018. 

In addition to test scores and maintaining grades, the students had to send in an application which included writing an essay, school activities they’ve been involved in and awards they won, among other things. 

Angress plays saxophone and went to All-States for the first time. He is the class secretary and is a member of the oceanography team that will be going to nationals later this year. 

McFadden has been a member of the cross-country and winter and spring track teams since her freshman year, and she plays violin in the school’s orchestra and has been dancing since she was three years old. 

The seniors will now compete for a number of scholarships which will be offered and announced later this month. They can be awarded three types of scholarships: a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship, Corporate-Sponsored Merit Scholarships and College-Sponsored Merit Scholarships.

Angress said he would like to pursue mechanical or aerospace engineering when he goes to college next fall. 

“I’m still waiting to hear back on nine [admission] decisions to come over the next month, but of the schools I’ve been accepted to, I’d probably want to go to Northeastern,” he said. 

McFadden said she wants to study biology and pursue either premedicine or something in genetics. 

“I’m waiting to hear back on four decisions still, but of the ones I’ve been accepted to and deciding between is Quinnipiac [University], Binghamton University and Stony Brook University,” she said. 

Peter Pramataris, Mount Sinai High School principal, couldn’t have been more proud of the duo. 

“I’ve been in education for 24 years, but in my opinion, you can’t find two better quality character kids,” he said. “They are really well rounded, and it is a testament to their families — it really makes me proud to call them Mount Sinai High School students.”

The two students gave their advice to fellow peers who might want to compete for the prestigious scholarship. 

“Stay true to who you are, stick to what you have been doing and you will definitely find some opportunities,” McFadden said. 

Angress said it is important to take the process seriously and he would advise students to start preparing ahead of time. 

Pramataris said he is excited to see what the future holds for the two students. 

“We can’t wait to hear about their future accomplishments, because I know they are going to have a ton of them,” he said.

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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

The wrestling season came to an end this past weekend at the Times Union Center in Albany with North Shore wrestlers making way at the 2020 Championship.  

A sellout crowd was in attendance for the two-day, three-session event featuring the best wrestlers throughout New York state. All of the Division II County Champions plus a few wildcards competed.

North Shore wrestlers from John Glenn, Mount Sinai, Shoreham-Wading River and Mattituck participated.  

Mount Sinai’s Matt Campo, the No. 2 seed, wrestled Mickey Squires of Norwich, the No. 1 seed, in a rematch of their Windsor Christmas tournament where Squires won 6-4.  The finals was the seventh time Campo and Squires faced off, with Squires wining four and Campo winning two.

The match 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. Both wrestlers knew the other’s style and adjusted accordingly. The crowd was in a frenzy during the overtime, 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, becoming the New York State Champion at 170 pounds. Campo also recorded his 200th career win during the tournament.   

Campo credited the win to the strategy set up by his father, Mike Campo, coach Matt Armstrong and assistants Kurt Wagner, Eric Strobeck, Ralph Menchino, Jim Walker and two outstanding wrestling training partners, Joe Goodrich and Adam Shrata.    

Also placing in the tournament were Brayden Fahrbach and Mike O’Brien of Mount Sinai, who finished third. Craig Jablonski, of Shoreham-Wading River, placed fifth, while Joe Goodrich, of Mount Sinai placed sixth.

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SWR Also Gives Strong Showing

Mustangs wrestling gave it their all at this year’s Division II wrestling championship Feb. 14. Photo from Mel Jacoby

Center Moriches High School was home to the Dr. L Robert “Doc” Fallot Memorial Suffolk County Division II Wrestling Championship Friday, Feb. 14. Competing in the tournament were teams from Mount Sinai, Shoreham-Wading River, John Glenn, Mattituck, Hampton Bays, Bayport-Blue Point, Port Jefferson, Southampton and Babylon. 

A capacity crowd was in attendance to watch the boys compete for the coveted championship and a trip to Albany for the New York State Championship finals. 

In a close battle at 99 pounds, Brayden Fahrbach of Mount Sinai narrowly defeated a tough Chris Colon from Shoreham-Wading River 2-1.

At 106 pounds, Craig Jablonski of Shoreham-Wading River took down Anthony Mirando of John Glenn 2-1 in a tight battle. 

At 120 pounds, Joe Sparacio of Bayport-Blue Point outlasted Connor Pierce of Shoreham-Wading River, 8-3. 

The 126-pound match featured Jordan Titus of Center Moriches, who ranked third in the nation, against Jack Tyrell of Mount Sinai. Titus won in a tech fall 18-3.

The boys from Mt. Sinai won the next two matches with Brenden Goodrich outlasting Jake Jablonski of Shoreham-Wading River 6-2 and Mike O’Brien overwhelming River Orlando of Hampton Bays 15-4.

Mount Sinai powerhouses Matt Campo, at 170 pounds, and Joe Goodrich, at 182 pounds, who have been pinning machines all year, won their respective matches by pins. Campo stuck it out, winning over Ben Brown of Southampton in 1:25, with Goodrich defeating Ethan Schmidt of Mattituck in 4:53.  

Mount Sinai’s five winning wrestlers will compete in Albany Feb. 28 and 29.

The Rick Herrmann Most Outstanding Wrestler Award in the tournament went to Joe Sparacio of Bayport-Blue-Point, while the Jack Mahoney Champion of Champions Award went to Goodrich of Mount Sinai. The Most Pins in the Least Amount of Time Award went to Campo of Mount Sinai, ending with a total of four pins in 2:7.

The Bill Knapp Award went to the Mustangs, whose team score was 261 to Shoreham-Wading River’s 248. John Glenn had 219 while Mattituck had 201.

The New York State Championship will take place Feb. 28 and 29 at the Times Union Civic Center in Albany. Mount Sinai will be sending the most wrestlers from either Division I or Division II to the tournament.