The Wallkill wrestling team were a little shorthanded on Thursday night but were able to get off to a fast start and defeated the Goshen Gladiators, 58-24.
“They had a huge effort,” Wallkill coach Anthony Ng said. “We lost about five or six guys to contact tracing who were negative, but they just have to take the mandatory seven days, so it was tough. We had senior captains out of the lineup. We had guys that wrestled every varsity match (out). The guys that came in did a tremendous job.”
Missing several wrestlers meant the Panthers had to shuffle their lineup to fill the 12 of the 13 weight classes, but the wrestlers that won, did so quickly, and the ones who didn’t win, they limited Goshen’s points by taking their opponents the full six minutes.
It happened at both 138 pounds and 152 pounds when Wallkill’s Matt Rizzo found himself on the defensive against Jackson Brady, who is ranked third in the section at his weight class.
He fought off getting pinned managed to take Brady the entire 6 minutes. Despite his 7-0 loss, he limited the Gladiators, who were already trailing 24-0 to only three points.
“That just shows a lot of heart and a lot of grit,” Ng said. “He was looking to wrestle off that bottom position and that guy just had good forward pressure. It’s a testament to what we’re about here.”
George Thomas got the Panthers back in the win column with a pinfall victory at 145 pounds. Then Ben Buchalter repeated Rizzo’s feat at 152 pounds. Despite not scoring a point, Buchalter took Villodas the full 6 minutes.
“Unless you’ve been down there and you’ve felt that pressure, you don’t know what it’s like,” Ng said. “So, you’ve got to really give hats off to these guys who are trying time and time again to work up to their feat.”
Overall, the Panthers had a strong showing, starting the match with four straight pinfall victories from Liam McCarthy (110), Devin Strother (118), Rocco Futia (126), Viktor Banda (132), Thomas (145), Marco Martini (160) and Jai Barnet (172).
The Panthers didn’t wrestle during the shortened 2021 COVID-19-altered season but have won three straight local dual meets to start the season.
“It’s extremely tough for every program right now because not a lot of people have the luxury of wrestling through the pandemic with different clubs,” Ng said. “So, to get the numbers we had here, you have guys that have lost their entire freshman year coming in as modified wrestlers basically starting their sophomore year.”
The Panthers were scheduled to host the first two rounds of the Section 9 Duals tournament on Tuesday. They were scheduled to open the tournament against No. 6 Saugerties, which also will double as the Panthers’ and Sawyers’ league match.
The winner of that will advance to the quarterfinals between the winner of the match between No. 3 Middletown and No. 14 Beacon.
“It’s exciting because there’s not many opportunities to wrestle in your home gym,” Ng said. “Some of the tournaments are about two hours away so it’s not really plausible to have parents making the trip just for that tournament. So, to have it local, it just gives a great opportunity for parents to show up and, not only that, our modified wrestlers to come up and see what we’re about.”
Wallkill 48, Goshen 24
110: Liam McCarthy (W) pinned Ahmed Arif, 1:10
118: Devin Strother (W) pinned Tanvir Singh, 2:36
126: Rocco Futia (W) pinned Keegan Melady, 2:33
132: Viktor Banda (W) pinned Jake Lederman, 4:15
138: Jackson Brady (G) def. Matt Rizzo, 7-0
145: George Thomas (W) pinned Mario Lam, 3:05.
152: Henry Villodas (G) def. Ben Buchalter, 5-0
160: Marco Martini (W) pinned Paul Lamparillo, 0:35
172: Jai Barnett (W) pinned Aaron Gay, 2:27
189: Max Winkler (G) pinned Christian Lemus, 0:28
215: Declan Bernhardt (G) pinned James Rizza, 1;02.
285: Dominick Siracusa (G) won by forfeit
102: Marco Futia (W) won by forfeit.