It has been years since Riverhead’s wrestling coach Wade Davey has been able to look down his roster and find more than just one or two seniors.

“We’ve gone into the last four or five years with only one or two seniors and it’s ridiculous,” Davey said. “The kids just don’t stay with it through all their high school years. It’s like just when they are going to become great at it, they are giving it up.”

Following last year’s abysmal performance on the mats, which featured more youth than experience, more losing than winning, a year in which Davey saw a lot of kids quit, the Riverhead wrestling team is back, almost in full force.

“We were down to around 25 kids last year for both varsity and JV,” Davey said. “This year we’re looking at 30-35 which gives us much more flexibility.”

This year’s team has seven seniors, which will prove valuable in the grand scheme of things. A team is simply incapable of winning without experience.

“You’re not just going to come in this room and start winning right away,” Davey said. “It takes time and practice to be a dominant wrestler.  Our goal as coaches is to build our guys up from freshman year so that by their senior year they’re competing at a high level but if they’re not staying, there’s nothing we can really do.”

One senior that’s stuck with the program from day one is Deandre King and the final product is blossoming, Davey said.  King will wrestle at 132-pounds.

“He’s been here for four years and has never been great and hasn’t place in a league tournament or anything like that but I think he’s going to have a great season because he’s put in the work over the years — that’s the difference,” Davey said.

Ed Matyka is expected to dominate the 120-pound weight class. He was the first person mentioned by Davey when asked for the key players this year.

“Eddie was the league champ and fifth in the county last year,” Davey said. “He’s certainly capable of being the county champ this year.”

A few others mentioned by Davey were Cody Weiss at the 126-pound weight class, Chris Flood at the 113-pound slot, Kerry Thomas at 106-pounds and Raheem Brown at 170-pounds.

“All of those kids should do very well this year,” Davey said. “And hopefully some of the other kids come along as well.”

Filling out the rest of the known starting weight class spots will be:

Dan Rambo (138 lbs)
Mitchell Hobbs (160 lbs)
John Roca (182 lbs)
Justin Hansel (220 lbs)
Jose Blancarte (285 lbs)

Jaiden Blom and Jerry Lopez will battle it out for the 195-pound weight class.

Riverhead has its first league meet today at home against Copiague.

The survival of local journalism depends on your support.
We are a small family-owned operation. You rely on us to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Just a few dollars can help us continue to bring this important service to our community.
Support RiverheadLOCAL today.