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Feb 6, 2012 4:06 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Escobar, Peralta Place Third At Leagues, Move On To Counties

Feb 7, 2012 12:23 PM

East Hampton wrestling team head coach Steve Tseperkas views League V as one of the toughest leagues in all of Suffolk County. So when just two of his wrestlers—Lucas Escobar and Mike Peralta—placed third at the League V Championships on Saturday at Bellport High School, the coach was not at all disappointed.

“We’re happy with two guys going through to counties,” Tseperkas said. “Everybody else came 
here ready to wrestle. Nobody has lain down and League V is 
probably one of the toughest leagues in the county.”

In order to advance to the Suffolk County Division I Championships, which are this Friday and Saturday, February 10-11, at Stony Brook University, wrestlers have to place in the top three in their respective leagues.

Peralta (145 pounds), a senior, who will be making his second consecutive appearance in the county tournament, got off to a great start on Saturday. He defeated Harborfields’ John Malico by a 17-2 tech fall in his first match of the day before dropping an 8-4 decision to Islip’s Andrew Werther in the semifinals. Werther wound up placing second after losing in the finals to Bellport’s John Rose.

In the consolation finals, where wrestlers battled for third and fourth place, Peralta had to face Russell Manuello of Kings Park, whom he beat earlier this season in a dual meet. After a scoreless first round, Peralta opted to go neutral, thus awarding a point to Manuello. After a take down, Peralta took the lead at 2-1 but 
then gave up the lead again later in the second round after opting to go neutral again.

Because of a wrist injury, Peralta has a hard time working on the bottom and, therefore, chooses to go neutral and give up a point in most of his matches.

“I’m a very good neutral wrestler,” he explained. “It’s wrestling smart. You have to be dedicated and have pride in your shots and know you have to go through with it.”

The third round was similar to the second, though this time Manuello chose to go neutral, awarding a point to Peralta who eventually took down Manuello for 
two points. Peralta won the 
match by a 5-2 decision.

Peralta said he expected to beat Manuello and is looking forward to his second shot at becoming an All-County wrestler.

“I want to do the best I can [at counties],” Peralta said. “I want to come out strong and not get distracted. I have more experience and I know what I have to do now.”

Escobar, the team’s 106-pounder, also won his first match of the tournament, pinning Bellport’s Mhadi Hossain in 3:23. But Escobar’s semifinal match was against Andrew Roden of Kings Park and he lost an 8-0 major decision. Roden eventually won the League V title, pinning Andrew Attivissiomo of Harborfields in 1:14.

So Escobar, like Peralta, had to win his consolation finals match in order to make counties, and he would have to defeat Eastport South Manor’s Nicky Garone, to whom he lost earlier this season in a dual meet. Escobar pushed the action from the start of the match, though it was not until he scored two points in the third round that he sealed the 4-2 victory over Garone.

“I feel avenged,” the sophomore said of the win over Garone. “I felt great. I was pumped up, ready to go and ready to win. I had a lot of energy, I stayed focused and didn’t give up any stupid mistakes and I kept my head where it needed to be.”

Because Peralta and Escobar lost to wrestlers who either won their finals match or placed second, they should get decent seedings at this weekend’s county tournament.

Tseperkas said he was surprised that his 220-pounder, senior Jacob Hands, did not make it to the counties. Hands picked up a 9-0 major decision over ESM’s Joe Zarcone but then he lost a close 3-1 decision to Christian Sabia of Kings Park.

Tseperkas thought that senior Sawyer Bushman (126) and junior Kevin Heine (182) did well. Bushman pinned Bellport’s Shawn Payne in 2:16 but 
then had to face Comsewogue’s Anthony Russo. Bushman had lost twice to him earlier this season. Russo won by a 15-3 decision, though Bushman had Russo on his back twice and came close to an upset.

“[Russo] looked like he was pinned, but the ref didn’t give it to us,” Tseperkas said.

Heine had missed the first half of the season because of an injury and almost had an upset on Saturday. He opened up the tournament against second-seeded James Mitsos of Comsewogue and lost 2-1.

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By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Feb 9, 12 3:08 PM