Written by Hyram Landers Friday, 26 April 2013 00:00
The Davenport Press Restaurant o n Main Street in Mineola hosted the Herricks Wrestling Team, this time for the team’s 37th Annual Wrestling Awards Dinner. High School Highlanders and Middle School Soaring Eagles resplendent in jacket and tie together with family, friends, and Highlander Wrestling alumni shared a festive evening’s celebration of this year’s wrestling endeavors.
Varsity Head Coach Cliff Forziat together with his staff consisting of Mike Miller, Eric Goldberg, Leo Kouroupos, and Seth Cook, introduced each team member and distributed certificates of participation and letter awards. Special clinicians Fred Holle and Clint Bodo were also on hand, having contributed substantially to the success that the young wrestlers achieved during the season as well as adding to the spirited banter.
Seven Highlander team members received Herricks Scholar Wrestler Certificates for academic excellence during the season. Freshman Anthony Polo, sophomore Krish Shethia, junior Christopher Woska, and seniors Corey Iuculano, Paul Tantillo, and Michael Vespe were joined by sophomore team manager/scorekeeper Michelle Golyan, proving once again that “it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time.”
As a team, the Highlander Varsity finished up 8-5 and they were 8-4 on the Second Man mats. Two Highlanders, seniors Mike Vespe and Andrew Farrell, won All-County honors in the Nassau County Division I Wrestling Championship Tournament. Farrell and senior John Temperino both won Conference Championships in the Qualifying Tournament held prior to the County’s. Teammates Vespe, Iuculano, senior Mike Lopez, junior Joe DeVito, and freshman Matt Mach also won All-Conference honors in that event.
“There’s no politics or coaches’ favoritism involved in these honors,” Forziat said. “You win on the mat or you don’t,” he continued. “We were in with some very tough teams including Wantagh ranked number one in New York State, and our kids did a great job.”
Numerous awards were presented to various statistical category leaders: Wins – Mike Vespe (36), Pins – Andrew Farrell (22), Team Points – Farrell (194.5), Technical Falls – Corey Iuculano (3), Major Decisions – Vespe (4), Fastest Pin – Jason Liarikos (15 seconds), Takedowns – Vespe (55), Reversals – Matt mach (26), Escapes – John Temperino (27), and Nearfalls – Iuculano (35).
Five Middle School Soaring Eagles were recognized for their superior performances. Eighth graders Michael Chase, Luke Esposito, and Brian Ginter plus seventh grader Michael Marcy each received Coaches’ Recognition Awards. Eighth grader Anthony Bartolotta was awarded the Outstanding Wrestler Award. He finished the season at 12-1 losing a hard-fought 5-10 decision in his first match at Great Neck North, then reeling off 12 straight victories, 11 of them by pin, against some very tough opponents. The team finished 6-6-2 and showed steady improvement throughout the season.
Highlander freshman Anthony Polo was the well-deserved recipient of the High School Coaches’ Recognition Award. Anthony A.K.A. Canis Furiosus Minor, (and more recently as “the incredible shrinking man”) is a fearless competitor whose intensity both everyday in practice and on the mat in competition is peerless. He finished up the season at 29-13 overall and was on his way to All-Conference honors in the Qualifying Tournament, when he was derailed by an accidental head butt that almost immediately swelled his right eye shut. “Popeye” wanted to continue, but the coaches pulled him from the competition. Nevertheless the next week he came every day to the county tournament practices and scrimmages and worked out even though the coaches would not let him have any contact.
John Temperino was presented the 24th Annual Highland Wrestler Award. The inscription reads “in grateful appreciation to John Temperino whose devotion to the team, and whose support of Herricks Wrestling, and whose good sportsmanship are of the highest caliber.” John White (1990) was the first recipient of this distinction. Over the decades this award has been presented to wrestlers, parents, and faculty supporters of the wrestling program. John C.P. [Compact Power] Temperino has done an admirable job filling in the upper middle weights for the team frequently giving up pretty much height in his matches. He finished this season with 29 varsity victories and a Conference Championship. He has served as the team treasurer for the past two years, and as Coach Forziat says, he bleeds blue and gray.
Andrew Farrell finished the season with 33 victories giving him 110 over his career, good enough for fifth place on Herricks’ all-time records charts in wins. He is also ranked fifth in career team points, and this year Andrew established a new Herricks Career Pin school record with 66 getting the last three pins in the grueling County Championships.