YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. – No sooner did the 2011-2012 wrestling season conclude in March than the Yorktown varsity team began looking forward to 2012-13, and with good reason.
The Cornhuskers had the best season in program history with a league title, a fifth-place finish in the Section 1 Large-School Wrestling Championships and two sectional champs – Steven Sabella and David Varian. Yorktown accomplished this with a team laden with underclassmen.
Sabella and Varian are two of a veteran senior class that is the core of the team. Classmates Joe Mastro and Thomas Murray were sectional finalists, and fellow seniors Jimmy Kaishian and Kyle Santucci placed top six in the section. These six seniors have been the driving force behind Yorktown’s rise to join the top teams in Section 1.
“Ever since we were in eighth grade, we wanted to bring the program up and see where we could take it,” said Sabella, the 2012 Section 1 Large School 170-pound champ. “We didn’t do as well as we felt we should have our sophomore year. Last year was our breakthrough year. We have really high hopes for this year.”
As a result of Yorktown’s meteoric progress, the returning senior core has had numerous discussions about what the team’s potential is this season.
“That is all we’ve been talking about,” Mastro said. “We’ve been eating, breathing and sleeping wrestling.”
Sabella, Kaishian, Mastro and Santucci all wrestled on the modified team in seventh grade with coach John Tornambe. The following year Tornambe was promoted to the varsity job, and he took the fantastic four with him as eighth-graders. Murray and Varian joined their classmates freshman year.
Yorktown will open the season at Mahopac on Dec. 4, then travel to Bethpage on Long Island on Dec. 8 for its first tournament of the season.
Even though the six seniors fuel Yorktown, Mastro pointed out that the team has other talented wrestlers who are ready to be major contributors this season.
“Other than us, everyone has improved and everyone is hungry,” Mastro said. “Our underclassmen are going to step up this year, and no one is going to see them coming, like when we were young.”
Once the season starts, Yorktown plans to take it one step at a time and raise its collective level when divisionals and sectionals come around.
“We’ve all been working harder than previous years and we’re fresh, healthy and hungry,” Sabella said.
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