Heading into the semi-final round of the Ralph Jansson Tournament Saturday at Valley Stream North High School, seven members of the Mineola Mustangs varsity wrestling squad were in position to place. All seven ended up doing so, taking third place or better in their respective weight classes.
A hundred percent isn't bad.
Varsity coach Danny Guido credited his wrestlers for their constant forward pressure and effective takedowns, which he said is a product of the team's philosophy in training.
"If they're not good on their feet, they're not going to win," Guido said. "And if they're not aggressive, they really shouldn't be wrestling."
Only being able to put 11 wrestlers into the tournament at Valley Stream North – the maximum number would've been 32 – cost the Mustangs a slew of points toward the team's total score, but Guido was pleased with his wrestlers' individual performances. The Mustangs finished fifth out of the 11 teams that competed in the tournament. Guido attributed that to a combination of a shorthanded roster and an uneven weight distribution on the team.
The Mustangs' weight-class issues have emerged this year, though Guido said his team is actually bigger this season than last. Mineola has 30 total wrestlers on the roster as opposed to 23 in the 2009-10 season, when they won the Ralph Jansson Tournament. However, vacancies on the light and heavy ends of the spectrum will continue to cost the team.
"Last year we fell into the weight classes much better. Sometimes just having the guys in the right weights gives you an advantage," Guido said.
Guido will have to deal with the problem again during the Mustangs' dual meet at Mineola against Seaford Wednesday. Without wrestlers to put into the lower weights, the Mustangs will forfeit wins in the 96, 103, 112, and 119-pound classes. That will place Mineola in the hole against Seaford, which Guido called one of the best teams in the league.
Though Guido isn't holding his breath in anticipation of a team win over Seaford Wednesday, he said every match means a chance for his squad to wrestle hard, improve, win individual matches, and prepare for the major tournaments at the end of the season.
"I'm happy as long as the kids I have wrestle as well as they can, though we always go out to win," Guido said.Class Weight Class Place Nick Fabiano Senior 130 lbs. 3rd Matt Long Sophomore 135 lbs. 2nd Dave Valmond Junior 145 lbs. 1st Joey Massaro Junior 152 lbs. 2nd Steve O'Connor Senior 160 lbs. 3rd Christian Euell Senior 171 lbs. 3rd Danny Granados Senior 215 lbs. 3rd