By Craig Mannino
Michael Leandrou, Oyster Bay High School senior, earned his place in Baymen wrestler history after a phenomenal 35 win to 8 loss season, becoming county champion for the 145 weight class for two consecutive years and earning 4th place in New York State.
“My season was great overall. I had a rough start and some terrible injuries, but due to my coach’s help, I was able to push through and end on a good note,” Leandrou said in regard to his achievements.
According to Michael, the catalyst for his wrestling career began with an interest in boxing and UFC. “I loved boxing and was a boxer before I wrestled. I got big into UFC, so I wanted to learn more forms of martial arts.”
After encouragement from both Coach Brush and former Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. O’Hara, Michael began wrestling in 8th grade.
He credits much of his success not only to his coaches who, “led [him] to where [he is],” but also to his parents. “I would be nowhere without my mom and dad. My mom would wake up early before tournaments to make me breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the long day of wrestling ahead. She waits outside my club practices and drives me everywhere for wrestling. My dad supports me as much as he possibly can and really gets involved in my matches.”
As for the coaches, Leandrou shares, “My coaches led me to where I am. Ax, Brush, and Dylan have honed me and given me the support to be the wrestler I am. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
However, there is also credit due to Leandrou himself who has sharpened his skills by putting in extra work outside of the wrestling room throughout his five-year career. He believes that all athletes, not just wrestlers, “need to be an athlete 100% of the of the time,” which, according to Leandrou means, “eating right, training on your own and making the right decisions.”
Leandrou also praises his fellow wrestlers. “Watch out for Erick Velasquez, Michael Panella, Steven Mcevoy, and, my little brother, Yianni. Erick is going to be a two-time county champ next year, and I think he will place in states. Panella should’ve placed in counties this year, but his hip injury really cost him. Stevie Mcevoy had a tough season, but I feel, if he trains in the off season, he will definitely place or even win counties. For Yianni, once he recovers from his broken collarbone, I’m going to work him really hard and drag him to my wrestling gym so he can fulfill his potential.”
Although Michael Leandrou is approaching the end of his Baymen wrestling career, he plans to continue with the sport, sharing, “I’m definitely going to wrestle in college D1. After that, I’m considering doing more martial arts and maybe UFC.”
Although many will be sad to see Leandrou depart, his career is far from over. He has certainly left his mark on Oyster Bay High School, both on the walls of the wrestling room and in the hearts of his fellow aspiring wrestlers.
Here you'll find articles