On Feb. 10-11, the area’s top wrestlers took to the mat at Sleepy Hollow and Clarkstown South high schools to compete in the annual D-I Section I Tournament. When the dust had settled, some familiar local faces took their spot atop the podium earning well-deserved championship honors.
Among grapplers in The Review’s coverage areas, New Rochelle 182-pounder Jake Logan and Mamaroneck’s 145-pounder Crew Fullerton both won titles and cemented their spots as two of the best wrestlers in Section I.
Logan, a junior, entered the 2017-18 as one of the most promising wrestlers in the area and was the top-ranked 182-pounder all season. In the finals on Sunday, he put a stamp on his terrific season, pinning Horace Greeley’s Jacob Ferreira with 10 seconds left in the first period.
Logan had previously topped Ferreira twice, earning a 5-4 win at Eastern States and a 3-1 decision at the Westchester County Championships on Jan. 20, but Sunday’s match—which served as the show-closing finale—lacked the drama that made their first two matches so compelling.
“It was definitely nice for Jake to get that moment because coming into the tournament, there was a lot of chatter that [Ferreira] was going to beat him,” said New Rochelle coach Eddie Ortiz. “But I don’t think Jake did anything different; he just saw an opportunity, finished a takedown and got him on his back.”
Mamaroneck senior Fullerton also put together a strong finish to his Section I season, pinning Ossining’s Farouk Capalbo in the semis before earning a 6-2 decision over Yorktown’s Pat Patierno in the 145-pound finals to earn his first-ever Section I crown. According to Tigers’ head coach Femi Wheeler, Sunday’s victories were simply a case of the standout putting everything together.
“He always had the potential to do this,” Wheeler said. “It was just a question of him continuing to improve to get to where he needed to be.”
Both the Tigers and Huguenots fared well overall, as New Rochelle earned a second-place team finish—scoring 115 points to eventual champ Fox Lane’s 145—while Mamaroneck tallied 85 points, which was good enough for a 10th-place showing.
The Huguenots had a second-place finisher in 220-pounder Aidan Lilly and the Tigers had one in Trent Wechsler, who fell to Greeley’s Aaron Wolk in the 160-pound finals.
“We probably set our goals a little bit higher, but I think it’s important to set lofty goals,” Wheeler said. “And I think for the guys who made it, it’s a little bittersweet for the guys watching them, but it’s just going to light a fire under them for next year.”
The Section I titlists—and a few, as of yet unannounced at-large bids—will now set their sights on the state championships, which will be decided on Feb. 23-24 at the Times Union Center in Syracuse.
According to Ortiz, success in the state tourney comes down to natural talent and the ability to treat the state’s biggest stage as though it was just another meet.
“I think the biggest thing for the wrestlers is really just managing those emotions,” Ortiz said. “A guy like Jake has wrestled in tougher tournaments, but the scope and the magnitude of this one – the finality of the season – a lot of times guys just feel more pressure.”