The annual Huntington wrestling tournament will be held on Saturday at Louis D. Giani Gymnasium. (Darin Reed photo.)
The annual Huntington wrestling tournament will be held on Saturday at Louis D. Giani Gymnasium. (Darin Reed photo.)

Blue Devil Wrestling Tournament on Saturday

December 1, 2023

The Huntington wrestling team will take to the mats on Saturday for the season opening tournament in Louis D. Giani Gymnasium. The Blue Devils will square off against teams from St. Anthony’s, Massapequa, Roslyn, John H. Glenn, Valley Stream North, Mount Sinai and Port Jefferson. The action begins at 9 a.m. and continues uninterrupted throughout the day to completion in the late afternoon.

Huntington is coached by Travis Smith, Michael Marinello and Jamie St. John. Saturday’s tournament will contested on three mats. A round robin format will be used with five separate rounds. Wrestlers in each weight class will compete against opponents from the other five schools over the course of the tournament.

The Blue Devils are captained by Max Casiano, Christian St. John and Thomas Smith. All three are expected to be among the top wrestlers along with Vincent Pupillo, Walter Kusterbeck, Brandon Fucci and Jonathan Granito.

The team managers are Rosie Arner, Kaitlyn Sansiviero and Ava Tizzio. This year’s Finley wrestling coaching staff includes Jonathan Olivieri and Anthony Annuniziata.

Blue Devil Wrestling’s Roots Traced to 1933

The Huntington High School wrestling team traces its roots back to 1933 when the school sponsored a boxing and wrestling club. The club led to the creation of an interscholastic team for the 1937 and 1938 seasons before the sport disappeared again until 1951/52. It has been offered ever since then.

The 1934 high school yearbook states “Boxing and wrestling, a club long desired by the students of H.H.S. was, for the first time, taken up seriously and successfully this year. Under expert supervision, great strides were taken in the development of individual talents. The boys, realizing the importance of healthy bodies, endeavored to include in their organization such means as would prove directly beneficial to their physical developments.”

At one time, boxing was growing in popularity in New York schools. Reportedly, it was eventually banned following the death of a student participant somewhere in the state. However, in Depression-era Huntington, a group of boys took a liking to it.

“Regular meetings were held in the gymnasium during which some groups followed a training schedule while others participated in an interesting elimination tournament,” according to “The Huntingtonian.” “Mr. Roscoe Baker, who acted as faculty advisor, was of great assistance in promoting interest both within the club and in stimulating a desire for interschool competition.”

Senior James Sposato was the founder and president of the club. He is described in the high school yearbook as “an accomplished boxer.” The yearbook states that Mr. Sposato “gave valuable instruction in the art of self-defense and refereed the bouts in the tournament. The boys expect that interest in the boxing and wrestling club will mount to new heights and that in years to come the benefits of this club will be enjoyed by a greater number of high school students.”

The club led to the establishment of a wrestling team, which was coached by William Class. Following the 1938 season, so many team members graduated and there was such a lack of interest in the sport that the team was discontinued until the early 1950’s when math teacher Frank Kubisa helped bring it back to life as its coach.