The 18th Annual Peers Wrestling Tournament is ready to get underway Saturday in Whitman’s North Gymnasium.
Beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing throughout the day, wrestlers from Commack, Shoreham-Wading River, West Babylon, Sachem North, Port Washington, North Babylon, Centereach, and host Walt Whitman will have the chance to see just where they stand among their competition.
Whitman Coach Vincent Altebrando has a strong group returning to the mats this season. “Joe Calderone is my returning All-State wrestler at the 113-pound class, and Kevin Figueroa is returning All-County,” said Coach Altebrando. “Four additional All-League wrestlers returning are Vincent Feola, Ryan Gioe, Fati Harris, and Terrell Legros. I can’t remember how long it’s been since I've had this many tournament selection guys returning.”
Whitman possess a strong cadre of returning matmen whom Coach Altebrando is counting on, including not only those just mentioned but also Jamal Ahmed, Anthony and Vincent Feola, Robert Gallipoli, Alberto Jurado, Terhon and Terrell Legros, Kyle McManus, Hekmat Naeemi, Chris Olberding, and Austin Smith.
Choosing captains from this group could prove to be challenging because they all possess the qualities that Coach Altebrando likes to look for in a captain.
“Joe Calderone is so respected by the team with his leadership by example,” said Coach Altebrando. “Joe weighs in at 113 pounds, but his respect doubles his weight on this team. Also showing respected leadership skills are Kevin Figueroa and the Legros brothers, but realistically there are many on this team who step up and work hard every day and possess excellent leadership qualities.”
The Whitman team has been displaced because of storm damage to their wrestling facility in the South Gym complex, so this "band of gypsies," as they like to call themselves, have remained focused and worked extra hard in a variety of spaces. They are hoping that their wrestling room may be ready for their return after the New Year. “We are looking forward to our first tournament of the year,” said Coach Altebrando. “We are planning to give everyone, in every weight class, an opportunity to compete, and give coaches a good chance to get a focused look at each of their wrestlers.”
For spectators, this Saturday will be a full house of wrestling talent. The booster club will have plenty of good food and there will be lots of action, with up to four mats going at once. The community is invited to join us in the North Gym at Walt Whitman High School.
The Whitman coaching staff is led by Vincent Altebrando, Assistant Coach James Salvaggio, JV Coach Christopher Cardella, and at Stimson Middle School, seventh- and eighth-grade coaches Rory Sherman and Keith Gunsel.