The Hewlett Bulldogs, fresh off their impressive opening season showing, headed into their second tournament of the season at the Baldwin High School two-day competition. The Bulldogs knew they would have their work cut out for them as this 12-team tournament, including Catholic school powerhouse St. Anthony’s and Suffolk County behemoths, Sachem East and Longwood High School(s) is known to be one of the toughest tournaments held in Nassau County all season.
Coach Stephen Jones, prior to the tournament’s opening matches, was extremely confident about his team’s prospects to finish in the top three, even when considering the attendance of non-Nassau County schools.
“We are ready to build on our opening week's success”, said Coach Jones during a pre-match conversation.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were hit with some significant injuries which likely cost them their anticipated top three finish. Senior Captain Aaron Weinberg was a scratch as a result of a knee injury and both junior Captain Oran Revivo and freshman Owen Bachelder were injured during the tournament, resulting in their both having to forfeit in their final matches of the day, costing the Bulldogs valuable team points.
Even with these injuries and setbacks, the Bulldogs still finished fourth (less than 9 points behind second place Syosset) in this highly contested event and more importantly continue to catch the attention of the entire Long Island community. For the first time in its history the Bulldogs were ranked in the top 10 of tournament teams in Nassau County and even with its fourth place finish they will likely continue to ascend the ranking chart. The Bulldogs, lead by senior Lester Enriquez’s stunning last second comeback for a first place finish, had eight other wrestlers place at the tournament.
When discussing the teams performance at the tournament, Coach Jones stated, “As a team I think we got off to a real good start. We had some great opening rounds but fell apart in the last round of the tournament. This hurt our overall team performance.” He added “I am happy with a fourth place finish in this very competitive tournament, but I think we were capable of finishing higher. We have all the tools, we just need to implement them better at times.”
In discussing what he hoped the team learned about itself and what it takes to bring the program to the next level, Coach Jones said “ Overall, the boys wrestled tough. At the same time, we did make many technical mistakes which we will improve. As a team and as a coaching staff (together with my Asst. Coach Murphy and our two volunteer PAL coaches), we will review the mistakes and work with each wrestler individually in order to help their overall performance. With our success thus far, I think many of the boys are starting to build confidence week by week. The goal is come February, for the boys to bring that new found confidence into the sectional tournament. It is better they make these mistakes early in the season than in February, when it counts.”
With his enthusiasm and positive energy there is little reason to doubt Coach Jones and Asst. Coach Murphy will in fact have the Bulldogs ready when crunch time comes later in the season.
Joining Enriquez on the medal platform were senior captains Simon Greebel and Robert Rosenberg, who both placed second, junior Captain Oran Revivo, freshman Owen Bachelder, sophomore Tredd Smith, junior Matt Kaminer and senior Justin Ciraolo, who all placed fourth, and eighth grader, Lucus Pincus, who placed fifth.
The Hewlett Bulldogs next match will be a home dual competition against Great Neck North on Dec. 14, which starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Woodmere Middle School. As this is the first home event of the season, Coach Jones and his Bulldogs are hopeful that the student population will come out and show their support.
For those youngsters (grades 1-8) looking to experience the opportunity of becoming an elite wrestler PAL still has room. For more info contact Stephen Jones 516-220-3773 or Director/PO firstname.lastname@example.org.