DIX HILLS, New York, Dec. 25
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Last week, Thunderbirds head wrestling coach Bill Davey, Jr. knew his varsity squad was looking for some revenge as Hills East prepared to welcome Hills West for a non-league match on Friday. After falling to the Colts in a playoff football game in November and then again in a boys basketball game on Dec. 9, the Thunderbirds sought a win of their own over their cross-town rival on the wrestling mat.
The boys got just that with a 54-16 triumph over Hills West.
“We started off the night at 285 pounds, and Cameron Byrne [a senior] came out with a first-period pin to set the tone and really get the wheels turning,” Davey said.
From there, Hills East never looked back. Davey called out two of his Thunderbirds in particular, though, for their standout performances: Michael Abidin, a junior who wrestled at 145 pounds, and Philip Spadafora, a sophomore at 120 lbs.
“Michael wrestled tough against Peter Guido [a Hills West captain] and beat him with an 8-4 decision,” Davey said. “It was a tough, gutsy match by Michael against a quality kid – both of which are looking to compete for a league title. I was very pleased with how he wrestled.”
Spadafora – one of three Spadafora boys on the Thunderbirds’ roster – took on Joe Derosa, another of the Colts’ captains. The sophomore Thunderbird emerged with a 13-2 victory.
“These guys have known each other for a long time,” Davey said. “The first couple of matches between them, Phil handled him, but they kept getting closer and Phil lost to Joe last year. This time, Phil came out with a different attitude and really impressed me.”
For Colts’ head coach Joe Scholz, the setback came because the Thunderbirds just matchup with the Colts a bit better.
“Where we’re good, they’re good,” he said. “We just didn’t win the close matches… They out-wrestled us.”
Scholz said overall, the Colts were resilient. There were tough performances up and down the roster, and four Colts emerged with victories on Friday. Those were: captain Antonio Ferro, Amon Wahabzadah, freshman Anthony Dushaj and David Bari – who earned his first varsity win, Scholz said.
“Overall we need to clean some things up with our technique,” Scholz said of his plans for the team heading into the holiday break. “Obviously our goal is to peak at the end of the season and right now we’re heading in the right direction with the young guys stepping up and the older guys catching fire.”
The Colts bounced back Saturday as they traveled to Jericho High School for a four-team meet and came out 3-1 with victories over Carle Place/Wheatley, Cold Spring Harbor and the hosting school in Jericho.
The Thunderbirds continued their success on Saturday when they traveled to Deer Park High School and defeated MacArthur, Bethpage and hosting Deer Park.
Both teams will come together once again Dec. 29-30 for an individual tournament at Half Hollow Hills High School East – scheduled to being at 9 a.m. on Dec. 29.
“It’s a nice tournament, one of the few two-day tournaments around,” Davey said. “This will serve as a prep for the county tournament… a nice way to get experience.”
Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014; A24)