By MIKE SMITH
Despite having only one senior wrestler, Harrison has gotten off to a quick start in 2015 with a strong showing at Rye’s Bernie Miller Invitational Dual Meet Tournament on Dec. 5. Finishing third in the field of eight, the Huskies seem eager to make some noise within Section I this year.
Three Huskies grapplers took home individual honors on Saturday, as Andrew Hollander, Jay Martins and Rob Donohue won recognition for their excellence in the 145, 120 and 195-pound brackets, respectively. Martins was also named the tournament’s most outstanding junior.
Overall, head coach Vin Nicita was pleased with his team’s performance in the dual meet tourney.
“It was a good tournament and we performed well,” Nicita said. “Especially having only one senior wrestling for us, I was very happy.”
After a pre-season injury to Jake Ullerick, which will keep him out for the year, co-captain TJ DiNota came into the year as Harrison’s lone senior on the roster. But with DiNota and Ullerick working alongside a talented crop of juniors, Nicita said there is plenty of veteran leadership on the squad.
“TJ has been great and Jake has been to all the practices and kind of stepped into an assistant coach’s role,” he said. “And the junior class is full of great kids like Martins, Donohue and Daniel Choe, who have all stepped up as well.”
Harrison had a grueling first week of the season, with a quad meet at home on Dec. 4 and the Bernie Miller Invitational the following day. The Huskies came out with a 6-4 record, but more importantly, they are being tested early on, according to the head coach. In particular, the coach was impressed with the performance of Choe, who wrestled All-State 99-pounder Justin Lopez of Yonkers to a hard-fought two-point loss.
“The kids are getting a lot of mat time, a lot of experience,” Nicita said. “I just feel like they’re really getting where they need to be, and even in our losses, I love the way they’ve competed.”
The Huskies will be back in action this weekend when they travel to East Fishkill for the annual John Jay tournament and will be competing in the Tony Carlucci Meet at Port Chester later this month. Come January, Harrison’s schedule will feature more individual dual-meets as the team gets primed for the postseason.
“Our No. 1 goal this year is to defend our league title, and we just want to keep on getting better every day,” Nicita said. “By the end of the year, I fully expect us to have some wrestlers who are all-section caliber.”