By Kyle Adams
Valley Central sophomore Luke Satriano headed to the NYSPHSAA state tournament at MVP Arena in Albany looking to get some retribution.
Last year Satriano was eliminated in the semifinals by the eventual Division 1, 102-pound champion, Dunia Sibomana. The rivals met once again this year, up a weight class, in the 110-pound semifinals.
This time the fourth-seeded Satriano (44-2) got the best of the top seed and defending champ, earning a 2-1 decision and a chance at a state crown.
The semifinal, the morning of Saturday, February 25, went scoreless until the third period when Sibomana escaped to take a 1-0 advantage. With 27 seconds remaining Satriano took a 2-1 lead on a takedown, to win the match.
“We knew he had a shot,” said VC coach Bob Leonard. “He’s been wrestling great all year. Getting through that match (against Sibomana), down 1-0 late in the third, and him getting that throw with both feet in was just amazing.”
“Once I got through to the final, I didn’t feel any more pressure,” Satriano said. “It was just one more match and I wrestled like it was my last match ever.”
The Viking sophomore was up against another familiar face in the championship round, third-seeded Evin Gursoy, from Midwood.
Satriano and Gursoy kept a scoreless battle going through regulation and the first two overtime periods.
“You can’t get much closer than that,” Leonard joked. “It’s not good for a coach’s blood pressure either, especially an old guy like me.”
Satriano scored the first points of the match in the third overtime - the first tiebreaker round - using a tilt to secure two points for a nearfall with 12 seconds on the clock.
“He’s got a great tilt,” Leonard said. “At first when he tried it, he couldn’t get it. He’s done this all year and he’s the only one I’ve seen do it; he does this step-over tilt and just locks on their head. It’s an amazing move and got the points and rode him out the next few seconds.”
“Once I got the two and there’s 12 seconds left, I just held onto his arm and kept his leg tabled,” Satriano explained. “I knew he wasn’t getting out. With three seconds left we got in a funky position, so I cut him loose to secure the win.”
Gursoy’s escape with three seconds remaining in the tiebreaker round gave him one point, but it wasn’t enough, as Satriano secured the 2-1 victory and the Division 1, 110 pound state championship.
Satriano is VC’s first state champion since Cody Ruggirello came out on top of the 103-pound bracket in 2007.
“Our program’s getting a lot better,” said Leonard. “We’ve sent five kids to states the past two years and before that we hadn’t sent on in over ten years, so we’re going in the right direction.”
Satriano spoke about the rivalry that’s been forming in his weight class the past several yeas, especially between him, Sibomana and Gursoy.
“We’ve all been wrestling each other for years,” he said. “We’ve all faced a bunch and won and lost against each other. I’ve gone back and forth with Evan and Dunia so many times. It’s just a grind of who wants it more and I was able to come out on top this time.”
The NYSPHSAA wrestling championships are broken out into a two day tournament. During the first day on Friday, February 24, Satriano won his first match in the second round by pinning Somers’ Ryan Ball in 29 seconds. He then recorded a 9-0 major decision over Ballston Spa’s Ralph Keeney, advancing to Saturday’s semifinal.
Satriano’s Viking teammates, Richie Degon, also made the trip to MVP Arena in the 126-pound weight class.
The junior earned a third-period pin in the first round against Brooklyn Technical’s Leo Gao, but got pinned in the second round by Wantagh’s Joseph Clem.
Degon won a 13-6 decision in his first consolation match over Warwick’s Griffin Petzold, but was eliminated on a 21-4 technical fall to Ward-Melville’s Jace Yannucciello. He finished his season 17-5 overall, going 2-2 at the state tournament.
Lovan and Braydon Pennell each represented the Bushmen at the state tournament, with Braydon earning the fifth seed as a Division I 189-pounder and Logan taking the sixteenth seed in the 132-pound bracket.
Braydon, a senior, placed fifth in his weight class.
After a first round bye, Pennell secured a first-period pin over Syosset’s William Henry to advance to the quarterfinals. Although he fell in the quarterfinals, he advanced to the second day of the tournament on Saturday.
Pennell worked his way through the consolation bracket earning a pin and 11-3 major decision. A second period pin against Smithtown East’s Michael Sanchez earned the senior a fifth place finish. He finished his season 36-6, while going 4-2 at the tournament.
Logan Pennell began his day on Friday by using a first period takedown to win a 2-1 decision over North Rockland’s Robert Depolito in the first round. He fell to the top seed and eventual champion Tyler Ferrara, of Chenango Forks, in the second round. Pennell was eliminated after a 9-1 major decision to Thomas Edison’s Botensky Bauzile, finishing 32-11 overall this season.
Rocco Futia was the long Panther to make the journey up the Thruway, as the fifth seed in the Division I, 118-pound division.
The senior received a first round bye, then won in the second round against Chaminade’s Shane Meenaghan on second period pin.
Futia dropped a 9-4 decision in the quarterfinals, but lived to see another day. During the second day of the tournament on Saturday, Futia was eliminated in the consolation round after a 6-4 decision in a sudden victory didn’t go his way against Hamburg’s Ken Schmitz. He amassed a 48-4 overall record in his final high school season.