Joseph Mattei of Herricks came oh-so-close to a state championship in his senior year.
He literally could not have come any closer. The 160-pound wrestler from Herricks had a remarkably dominant season, winning championships in his weight class at the county level and roaring through the state tournament’s winners bracket.
But in the finals, Mattei was beaten, 7-6 by Cornwall High School’s Tyler Reed, 7-6. Still, he set school records for wins (188) and pins (139). Mattei’s teammate, Joseph Manfredi, who won a state title in 2022, finished third at the qualifying tournament at 126 pounds, but for medical reasons was not able to compete at states, according to coach Eric Goldberg.
The other dominant wrestler in the area this winter was Manhasset’s Eric Carlson. The 189-pound senior was unstoppable in dual meets and beat Kwasi Bonsu of Baldwin to reach states, becoming only the second Manhasset wrestler to ever win a Division I title.
Undefeated going into states, Carlson reached the semifinals but lost to Elijah Diakomihalis of Hilton H.S., 7-6, but recovered to win a third-place medal, the highest-ever finish for a Manhasset grappler.
As a team, Manhasset again won the team conference title, its fourth in five seasons behind coach Stephon Sair.
In the Division II competition, Wheatley saw Zachary Samuel defeat teammate Joseph Manzano in the 110-pound division at the county tournament, with both advancing to states, while North Shore’s Kristos Vlahopoulos also qualified for states at the 189-pound level.