By MIKE SMITH
On Jan. 11, two Huskies wrestlers led the way as the Harrison fared well at the Scarsdale tournament, placing second in a field of 14 teams with a total of 122 points on the day.
Frankie Barchella and Max Luskawitz both finished first in their weight classes to help Harrison finish behind tourney winner Garden City and kick-off 2014 on a high note.
Harrison didn’t send their full retinue of wrestlers to the Scarsdale tourney, opting to send some Huskies to a coinciding tournament at Byram Hills, but head coach Vin Nicita was still optimistic that his crew would be one of the top teams at the Scarsdale event.
“I figured we were a top-three team coming in,” Harrison coach Vin Nicita said. “I knew Garden City from Long Island was a tough team, but I was hoping for a top-three finish and we finished second tied with Stepinac.”
Barchella, wrestling at 106 pounds, easily won his weight class, outpointing Eastchester’s Jacob Risi in the finals, beating the Eagles grappler in a 13-0 decision to take the crown.
For Barchella, who is currently 18-2 on the year and the second-ranked 106-pounder in the section, the finals win came as no great shock as Risi made little effort to force the action.
“I think he was a little frustrated because the other kid was kind of just trying to survive,” said Nicita. “But it’s a case where you are going to learn how to do your best to keep your opponent in the center of the mat.”
Luskawitz’s tournament win, on the other hand, came against a full weight class of wrestlers in the especially competitive 132-pound bracket. The Harrison senior defeated two Yorktown wrestlers on the day, beating the Huskers’ Chris Varian 3-0 in the finals. It was the first-ever tournament win for Harrison’s senior leader.
“I was so happy for him, he’s been wrestling great,” Nicita said. “He’s at 16-5 right now and he’s definitely put himself into consideration for All-Section, but it’s a tough division and he has his work cut out for him.”
Harrison has started off strong and currently sits at 9-3 on the year. However, the team will be tested over the next few weeks as it prepares to square-off with some of the better teams in its league, such as Fox Lane.
“I’m really happy with the way we’ve started out,” Nicita said. “But we’re about to start the real tough part of our schedule. But that’s what we want, to challenge ourselves.”