The Huntington High School wrestling team will hit the mats for the start of the competitive season on Sunday. The Blue Devils are hosting a six-team round robin tournament with the first matches going off at 9 a.m. The action is expected to continue until about 4 p.m.
Huntington will be joined in battle by teams from Port Jefferson, Kings Park, Roslyn, Massapequa and St. Anthony’s. Wrestlers will vie in 13 weight classes. All wrestlers will have five matches during the day. The action will play out on four mats in Louis D. Giani Gymnasium. Awards will be presented to the top finishers in each weight class.
Huntington’s returning veterans include freshmen Thomas Smith and Justin Villatoro; sophomores Cristian Alfaro-Bueso, Max Casiano, Jonathan Granito, Bryan Lizama, Sam Nicotra, Christian St. John and Dante Salgado; juniors Brett Bender, Ibukunoluwa Olabomi, Enzo Pupillo and Zachary Zboray; and seniors Lucas Cirlincione, Liam McDonald, Lucas Petrizzi, Kaleef Riley and Robert Smith.
The Blue Devil squad also features many exciting newcomers, most of which got their start at J. Taylor Finley Middle School. Two talented eighth graders have also made the team in Walter Kusterbeck and Vincent Pupillo.
Huntington is coached by Travis Smith, Michael Marinello and Jamie St. John. This year’s Finley coaching staff includes Jonathan Olivieri and Jose Alfaro.
Blue Devil Wrestling’s Roots Traced to 1933
The Huntington High School wrestling team traces its roots back to 1933 when the school sponsored a boxing and wrestling club. The club led to the creation of an interscholastic team for the 1937 and 1938 seasons before the sport disappeared again until 1951/52. It has been offered ever since then.
The 1934 high school yearbook states “Boxing and wrestling, a club long desired by the students of H.H.S. was, for the first time, taken up seriously and successfully this year. Under expert supervision, great strides were taken in the development of individual talents. The boys, realizing the importance of healthy bodies, endeavored to include in their organization such means as would prove directly beneficial to their physical developments.”
At one time, boxing was growing in popularity in New York schools. Reportedly, it was eventually banned following the death of a student participant somewhere in the state. However, in Depression-era Huntington, a group of boys took a liking to it.
“Regular meetings were held in the gymnasium during which some groups followed a training schedule while others participated in an interesting elimination tournament,” according to “The Huntingtonian.” “Mr. Roscoe Baker, who acted as faculty advisor, was of great assistance in promoting interest both within the club and in stimulating a desire for interschool competition.”
Senior James Sposato was the founder and president of the club. He is described in the high school yearbook as “an accomplished boxer.” The yearbook states that Mr. Sposato “gave valuable instruction in the art of self-defense and refereed the bouts in the tournament. The boys expect that interest in the boxing and wrestling club will mount to new heights and that in years to come the benefits of this club will be enjoyed by a greater number of high school students.”
The club led to the establishment of a wrestling team, which was coached by William Class. Following the 1938 season, so many team members graduated and there was such a lack of interest in the sport that the team was discontinued until the early 1950’s when math teacher Frank Kubisa helped bring it back to life as its coach.