The Rye Country Day wrestling team wrapped up a strong season in the New York State Prep Championships at Long Island Lutheran February 12, placing fifth out of 15 squads. Plagued by injuries causing all but two upper classmen to miss matches, the Wildcats came together for one of their best performances of the year.
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After defeating Hopkins 42-39 at home February 4, the Rye Country Day wrestling team improved to 7-6. Both schools entered the contest riddled by injuries, the result of which was nine forfeits in the 14 scheduled matches.
There was plenty of Garnet action on the courts, mats, pools and tracks over the weekend, and plenty of Sectional success as well. The Rye boys’ basketball team scored the stunner of the weekend, as the 18th-seeded squad upended No. 2 Sleepy Hollow 54-39 on the road Friday. With the win, Rye is now in position to visit the County Center for a second consecutive year. First they’ll need to go through No. 7 Tappan Zee on the road Wednesday at 6 p.m. Against the Horsemen, Conor Smith paced the Garnets with 17 points and Brian Pickup added 13.
Graham Zahringer provided an excellent showing for the Rye wrestling team at Sectionals on Saturday and Sunday, as he battled his way to the championship bout in the 152-pound weight class. The Garnet captain defeated a pair of Arlington wrestlers in the quarterfinals and semifinals via decision, but fell in the final to New Rochelle’s Diaz in a 3-2 decision. Jesse Trumm made his way as far as the quarterfinals in the 145-pound weight class.
Unfortunately for the Rye girls’ basketball team, their season came to an end on Friday at No. 6 Albertus Magnus. The 11th-seeded Garnets dropped a 56-37 decision. Rye trailed 30-14 at halftime, but sliced the deficit to seven at the end of three quarters. Albertus, however, put the Garnets away in the fourth quarter. Lillian McCabe and Catharine Greer each scored 13 in the loss.
While the girls’ basketball team suffered a defeat in Rockland, the Rye boys’ swimming team was putting together an impressive showing a few steps down the road Friday at Felix Festa Middle School in the Section championships. The Garnets competed in six events overall, and finished fourth behind Tappan Zee, Horace Greeley, and Arlington. Junior Kevin Hughes provided the school’s highlight of the day by winning the 500-meter freestyle event in 4:40.60, which was eight seconds faster than his time just days before.
Rye’s indoor track team fared very well at the Section 1 Class B championships Sunday at The Armory. The boys placed third overall, while the girls finished sixth. Mac Gager toppled an all-time Rye record on his way to a first place finish in the 600-meter dash with a time of 1:24. Max Robinson placed first in the boys’ 2-mile run, while Torie Virtue took second in the high jump. Amanda Owens (pole vault), Erica Gold (1,500-meter race walk), Chris Fumasoli (shot put), Taylor Love (2-mile run), and the boys’ 4×800-meter relay team all finished third in their respective events.
Full feature stories on each of these teams will appear in the next issue of The Rye Record, and on here before that paper hits the stands February 26.
ON TAP TODAY
Rye High School
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Rye Neck High School
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Rye Country Day School
Girls’ Squash at FAA Tournament @ Greenwich Academy, 3
School of the Holy Child
Squash at FAA Tournament @ Greenwich Academy, 3
TEAM RECORDS (W-L-T)
Obinna Nwakeze is on a roll that would make even the New York Jets envious.
Already an All-American and two-time prep school State champion, the Rye Country Day senior is putting together another dominant season for the wrestling team. Nwakeze is a perfect 15-0 this year in the 285-pound weight class, and is set on completing the season undefeated with title grabs at both the Fairchester Athletic Association and State tournaments.
“I have watched Obinna mature into one of the toughest wrestlers that I have coached in over 20 years,” said wrestling head coach Rich Knazik. “He has a quiet and cool way about him, but on the mat he is all business. Obinna has big plans for himself this year.”
As impressive as his mat skills are, Nwakeze is arguably even better in the football trenches. He was an offensive and defensive lineman for the Wildcats, and was recently selected to the Westchester Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s Golden Dozen Scholar Athlete Team.
“I am honored to be named because it acknowledges the hard work I put into both sports and academics,” said Nwakeze. “At times after practice, I can be very tired; however, my parents have always considered academics a priority so I try to do well and remain focused.”
Donovan McSorley made sure his birthday was a happy one. Wrestling at Rye Country Day School January 12, the Garnet grappler scored a decisive pin against the Wildcats’ Chibueze Nwakeze in the penultimate match, guaranteeing a 40-36 win for Rye High over their cross-town rivals. McSorley, a junior co-captain, pinned Nwakeze at the 3:45 mark in the 160-pound duel.
“Donovan’s pin was a well-planned strategy,” said Garnets’ head coach Matt Beckley. “He came out slow, let the opponent burn off a lot of energy, and then – after the three-minute mark – Donovan turned it on. He has been developing nicely over the past few years and we’re excited to have him for one more year.”
The match between the two Rye schools was highlighted by a bevy of pins. Mike Pollinger, Brandon Kim, Nick Bronson, and Zach Tax were all pinfall victors for the Wildcats, and – along with McSorley – Will Florio, Jesse Trumm, and Connor McWilton did the same for the Garnets.
“Connor McWilton’s win at 112 pounds really stuck out for us,” said Beckley. “He wasn’t feeling well all day but worked through it and got the fall for some very valuable team points.”
Garnets’ senior captain Graham Zahringer remained undefeated with a 13-3 decision over Mike Rosenfeld in the 152-pound class. He moved to 15-0 the next day with a victory in Rye’s match with Pleasantville, in which the Garnets were soundly defeated 68-7. They are 6-7 at press time.
With the loss to Rye High, the Wildcats fell to 5-2.
Rye’s Beckley had nothing but praise for the team across town. “They have really improved over the past couple of years. Their head coach, Rich Knazick, has done a very good job building the program.”
– Melanie Cane
Despite opening the match with three straight victories, the Rye Country Day wrestling team lost to Rye High School Tuesday at home, 40-36. Mike Pollinger (RCDS) opened the action in a 189-lb. duel with a pin victory at 3:10 against Steve Valencia. In the 215-lb. weight class, Brandon Kim (RCDS) pinned Zach Papadapolis in 3:13. Obinna Nwakeze (RCDS) won by forfeit in the 285-lb. weight class, but Connor McWilton (R) turned the Garnets’ fortunes by pinning Brian Aronson in 4:21 in the 112-lb. weight class. The pins kept coming in the 119-lb. class, as Ben Lust (RCDS) edged Fritz Zahringer. Will Florio (R, 125-lb.) then bested Matt Lee in 2:36. Rye’s Peter Kennedy won a forfeit at 130 lbs., and then Nick Bronson (RCDS, 135-lb. class) pinned Russel Hanson in 3:45. Jake Stone was another forfeit winner at 140 lbs. for the Garnets, and Jesse Trumm kept the victories coming for Rye with a pin in 2:25 against Andrew Miller (145 lbs.). Two of Rye’s three captains then picked up victores. Graham Zahringer wa sa 13-3 victor in a 152-lb. battle with Mike Rosenfeld, and Donovan McSorley pinned Chibueze Nwakeze (160 lbs.) in 3:45. In the finale, Zach Tax (RCDS, 171 lbs.) pinned Joe Simalacaj in 3:58.
The Rye boys’ basketball team picked up their fourth win of the season at home in a 77-64 defeat of John Jay-Cross River. Brendan Nagle led the way with 27 points, as the Garnets won for the second time in three games. Brian Pickup chipped in 19.
At Valhalla, the Rye Neck boys’ basketball team fell 65-42. Brendan Crowley and Harry Kerr each had 12 for the Panthers.