By ANTHONY LIFRIERI
Kings Park wrestling took third place in the Syosset Tournament, Saturday, January 5 at Syosset High School. The Tigers got solid performances out of its wrestlers, highlighted by junior Nick Weber’s victory at 195-pounds over two of Long Island’s top wrestlers and senior Tom Venier’s victory at 138-pound weight class.
Weber’s victory in the 195-pound weight class included pins of two of the best wrestlers on Long Island. Weber’s semifinal win came over Suffolk County’s third ranked wrestler. “He was an all-county kid and a good wrestler, but I knew I was better at heart,” Weber said. “I didn’t want to beat him, I wanted to dominate him.”
Weber worked hard for the pin. “We spent the first period handfighting. I got in a shot and took him down,” Weber said. “I ankle picked him and got a pin with an arm bar 1:58 into the period. If I had been two seconds lazier (in working on the pin), the match wouldn’t have gone that way.”
After defeating Suffolk’s third best wrestler, Weber had to face Dan Choi in the finals. Choi was Nassau County’s top ranked wrestler and third overall in New York State. The match proved to be a battle, with Weber giving up his first points of the season on two takedowns.
“In the first period I wrestled a little passive for the first minute and got caught in a bad position,” Weber said. “He caught me in a front headlock and he grabbed me for a single-leg takedown. We were near the side, so I stopped, which is exactly what coach taught me not to do.”
Starting on bottom after the break, Weber wasted little time. “Off the whistle, I was up and escaped easily,” Weber said. “We did a lot of handfighting and clubbing. He took another shot and I got buried. I was kind of disappointed he scored on me again.”
Wrestling near the side, Weber and Choi went out of bounds. “He didn’t think he could hold me down so we started from neutral,” Weber said. “I came too far and worked too hard to lose. I was known as a thrower, and I assumed he would be more than happy to tie up with me.”
Choi went for an inside trip, but backed out near the out of bounds line. This allowed Weber to underhook Choi, load him onto his back and throw him with his hips onto his back.
“I knew if I got a good guy like that on his back it would be a real shame to let him up,” Weber said. “I got the pin and the crowd went crazy.”
Weber called the pin over Choi his biggest win of the season. He also won the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler and Most Pins Shortest Time awards. However, the Kings Park junior still thinks he can improve. “I have a lot to fix,” Weber said. “I wrestled well, but not as well as I could have wrestled. I was honored to accept the awards, but I know I still have a lot of work to do.”
Weber’s goals are aimed high, and being ranked first in Suffolk County and a win over Nassau County’s top wrestler makes him the top dog on Long Island. “People don’t understand the amount of work we put in,” Weber said. “Reggie Williams is ranked first in the state and that’s my goal.”
Kings Park coach Clark Crespi was pleased with Weber’s performance, along with Venier, who did not allow a single point en route to a championship at 138-pounds. “Our team leaders, Tom Venier and Nick Weber, lead by example,” Crespi said. “They’re showing our younger wrestlers exactly what it takes to be successful.”
Crespi was also happy with the rest of his team. “Overall I was pleased with our performance,” Crespi said. “We finished third out of 12 teams which is pretty good because we have only four seniors on the team. We wrestled aggressively and were well represented. We had ten wrestlers placing out of 15 weight classes, and that is a very positive sign in terms of having depth on the team.”
Kings Park will host Sayville in a dual meet, January 10 at William T. Rogers Middle School, with the opening bout scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The Kingsmen will then head to Islip January 16.