By MIKE SMITH
The Harrison Huskies kicked of the 2013-14 wrestling season in high style on Dec. 6, going 3-0 in a four-way dual meet against Eastchester, Pleasantville and White Plains. While head coach Vin Nicita was pleased with the way his team came out of the gate, he knows that the Huskies will be tested early and often this year as they look to make waves in the postseason.
Harrison dominated the competition on Friday, with wins of 64-20, 61-19 and 54-32 over their opponents. With a number of his wrestlers getting the chance to wrestle three matches on the afternoon, Nicita felt that his wrestlers–especially the younger ones–got a good chance to get acclimated to varsity level.
“I was very happy, especially with our freshman, because it’s not easy to jump into a starting lineup,” Nicita said. “I thought that they all handled themselves well out there.”
Those freshman will join a group of seven returning veterans including senior captains Max Lukaswitz, at 132 pounds, and Max McMullen, at 285, both of whom should be in the conversation once sectional around this year.
“Those are two guys we’re expecting to see lead this team,” this year, Nicita said. “But we also have a strong class of juniors who just continue to get better as well.”
The Huskies junior class includes James Carducci, at 126, and Dom Schepis at 195, as well as Frankie Barchella, 106. Barchella only got to wrestle one match on Friday, picking up two forfeit wins, but could be expected to vie for a section crown this year.
“He’s more confident, he went and wrestled against all the best guys in the offseason,” Nicita said of the 106-pounder. “The more you wrestle, the more comfortable you become and he looked good in the one match he had out there.”
Harrison will begin the dual meet tournament on Dec. 9, after press time, when they host Mamaroneck, Tappan Zee and Pearl River at Louis M. Klein Middle School. Tappan Zee and Pearl River, both Rockland powerhouses, boast two defending Section I champs on the roster, while Mamaroneck has made strides in recent years to become a solid program in its own right.
“There’s going to be four section champs in the room and, unfortunately, none of them wrestle for us,” Nicita said with a laugh. “This is definitely going to be a good test.”
Nicita said the early goings of this season, which includes tough league matchups against teams like Horace Greeley and Port Chester, will give his athletes–especially the younger ones–a chance to prove their mettle early on.
“As long as these kids have the right attitude, and don’t get discouraged, wrestling against tough competition is the only way to get better,” he said. “Some kids, they get discouraged, they lose interest, but I don’t see that with this group. They’re going to battle.”