By Kayleigh Wieboldt
Oyster Bay High School has fostered many young athletic stars. The wrestling team is no exception. The team was founded in 1999 by Jay Davis, who took up the position of head coach until 2015. His run as coach included numerous victories, including the 2012 season, when Oyster Bay was ranked as one of Nassau County’s top teams and seven of our wrestlers became Nassau County Champions. Davis’s creation paved the way for athletes and coaches for years to come.
The wrestling program at OBHS has produced twenty County Champions, five of whom reached the top of the podium on multiple occasions. The team also has had forty-seven All-County wrestlers, fourteen of whom have taken first place on more than one occasion.
The wrestling team is home to many weight classes ranging from 99 pounds to 285 pounds. This season will showcase wrestlers such as Jack Wieboldt and Keith Cassar along with Matt Byrne, who twice placed third in All County, and Sam Khonaparast, who was a county finalist.
OBHS has seen a myriad of talented wrestlers such as senior Jack Wieboldt. Wieboldt began wrestling as a seventh grader at the 106-weight class with a record of eleven wins and three losses. In his senior year, he wrestles at 140 pounds with numerous pins to his name. Wieboldt is a three-time All-County wrestler, placing third in 2015 and second in both 2016 and 2017. With the 2017-2018 season coming to a finale, it marks the end of Wieboldt’s wrestling career, and on February 3rd, Wieboldt earned his spot in the one-hundred win club.
Senior Keith Cassar is one of the greatest wrestlers to walk the halls of OBHS. Cassar is currently ranked third in New York, making him the highest placing Oyster Bay wrestler in its history. He proudly earned his 100th win in his junior year, but he did not stop the streak there. He currently has 130 wins to his name with many more opportunities to increase his record. Cassar began his career as a seventh-grade wrestler at the 99-pound weight class, and six years later, he is wrapping up his senior year at the 120-pound class. His many accomplishments include taking fourth in All-States, being a two-time Nassau County Champion, taking third in 2014’s All-County, receiving second in 2015’s All-County, and being a two-time All-Conference champion.
With many amazing wrestlers leaving next year, eyes will be on some up-and-coming athletes. Erick Velasquez, Michael Leandro, and Jake Rankin are stealing the spotlight from the seniors this season and will have many highlights in their futures. In the coming seasons, these athletes will likely stand out from the rest of the crowd, deserving the praise they will undoubtedly receive.
There is no doubt that the Oyster Bay wrestling team is in good hands with Coach Brush and Assistant Coach Rankin. Standing strong with them is the National Wrestling Hall of Fame 2017 winner Assistant Coach Doug Axman. Coach Brush was a starting wrestler and team captain at LIU Post, and he is a USA Wrestling Bronze Level Certified Coach. In 2015, he began a youth wrestling program for grades Kindergarten through eighth called The Oyster Bay Grapplers. The program is for young wrestlers who want to start their successful athletic careers early.
Much remains to be seen from the OBHS wrestling team, and the community cannot wait to discover what else our Baymen will accomplish in the near future.
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