Marc Maturo’s official sports column
Szerlip, Nyack Wrestling Club linked hand in hand
Jeremy Szerlip of Nyack has a passion for wrestling, but in this case it’s not the scripted pro variety but the much purer and brutally competitive scholastic and collegiate versions.
Szerlip, who competed on the mats at Nyack High School with his twin brother, Nick, and then at Columbia University where he was nationally ranked and made all-East as a senior, has such a passion that he’s already looking forward to the NCAA national collegiate championships at Madison Square Garden in March 2016.
He has such a passion that his love of the sport also involves the Nyack Wrestling Club, which kicked off its fifth season earlier this month and which meets every Monday and Wednesday evenings at Nyack HS from 6-7:30 p.m.
The club, one of several in Rockland County, has more than 30 kids taking part, mostly in second through sixth grades, and most likely would not exist without dedicated volunteers. Szerlip is quick to pinpoint four parents of kids in the club who offer valuable support, to wit: Jeff Hirsch, Anthony Martinez, Travis Brady, and Charles Udry.
“They’re very generous with their time, and they’re great working with the kids,” said Szerlip, a teacher at Scarsdale HS.
Club members have the opportunity to compete in local matches and tournaments during the season, with the first scheduled on January 12 at John Jay-Cross River. Another is slated for January 19 at Pleasantville HS.
“We’ll have more tournaments, but the rest will be in Rockland,” notes Szerlip.
Last season, members of the Nyack club competed in matches at Suffern, Clarkstown South and Clarkstown North. Szerlip also noted that North Rockland not only has a program, but the Red Raiders’ high school team, led by head coach Jeff Swick, is among the strongest in the state.
“They won’t lose to anyone in this area; they’re pretty good,” continued Szerlip, with an appreciative laugh.
Besides the tournaments for his club, Szerlip envisions a Quad Meet featuring other clubs in the county.
“We want to get as much exposure as possible,” said Szerlip, noting that wrestling, like other sports, is now a year-round proposition. “In my time it was different, now there are more kids programs.”
For more information contact Coach Szerlip at 917-536-8002.
Mets tab area hurler
The Mets, a franchise built upon pitching, especially when playing at Shea Stadium, a tough hitters’ park, have selected a former right-hander from the Rockland Boulders in the Rule 5 draft. CitiField is no day in the park for hitters, either, so pitching will always be a premium.
Already blessed with Zach Wheeler and phenom Matt Harvey, who is expected back at full strength for the 2015 season, the Mets picked Jonathan Velasquez in the minor-league version of the draft (players selected do not have to be returned to their original team).
Velasquez, who pitched for the Boulders in 2011 and 2012, started all 40 of his appearances and compiled a 14-13 record with a 4.59 earned run average in 253 innings.
Last season Velasquez pitched for the Camden Riversharks in the Atlantic League, going 6-2, with a 1.92 ERA in 61 appearances.
“Rockland is like home to me and I will always be truly appreciative of my time there,” Velasquez was quoted as saying. “’I want to be the first Boulders player to make it the big leagues!”
Velasquez, presently playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, was signed in the off-season by the Minnesota Twins before being drafted by the Mets. He will report to spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
The Mets will open their Grapefruit League schedule on February 28 against the Washington Nationals at 1:10 p.m. in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The Mets schedule 33 games, including 14 home games at Tradition Field.
Other notable minor-league pitching prospects for the Mets include right-handers Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob de Grom and southpaw Jack Leathersich.
Lacrosse seniors Kelsey Rehain of Suffern and Carly Eskenazi of Kinnelon, N.J., have been named team captains for the 2014 season as announced by head coach Elizabeth Weber. “They are awesome teammates with great character and work ethic,” said Weber upon making the announcement. “Each brings a different style of leadership.”
Rehain has been a consistent contributor to the team throughout her career, playing in every game last year with 16 starts as an attack midfielder.
Rehain — joined on the Jaspers by junior defender Kaleigh Howe of Pearl River and junior attack Carly Cappello of New City — led the team in assists with 10 while ranking second in points with 22. She also picked up 14 ground balls, won 11 draw controls and was a member of the MAAC all-Academic Team.
Manhattan begins its slate on February 15 when it takes on Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.
Alushula Odongo of Suffern, a junior forward, started and played 21 minutes, helping the St. Thomas Aquinas College men’s basketball team defeat Georgian Court University, 71-58, at Aquinas Hall in Sparkill for its sixth victory in eight games. Omar Kellman of the Bronx led the attack with 19 points and seven rebounds for the Spartans, who are home on Dec. 21 to host Dowling College at 3 p.m. The Lady Spartans, who dropped to 5-2 following a 64-45 loss to previously winless Pace University, meet their Dowling counterparts at 1 p.m. … Senior guard Jessica Bullock of Thiells scored five points and shared team-high honors in assists with four as the Purchase College women’s basketball team defeated Mitchell College, 79-56, at Yarnall Athletic Center in New London, Conn. Purchase returns from the holiday break on Jan. 3, hosting Manhattanville College at 7 p.m. … Freshman guard Charles Nardone of Stony Point has played in eight games for the Manhattanville College men’s basketball team. Nardone, a North Rockland HS alum, is averaging 12 minutes and five points a game for the Panthers, who host Wells College on Dec. 20 in a 1 p.m. contest at Kennedy Gym in Purchase. Nardone also has an assist and 12 rebounds. … Winslow Dorsainvil of Spring Valley, a redshirt freshman on the St. Thomas Aquinas College track and field team, was named East Coast Conference (ECC) runner of the week following his school-record-setting performance in the 60-meter dash at the Bill Ward Invitational hosted by St. John’s University. Dorsainvil provisionally qualified for Division II nationals with a time of 6.83, breaking the existing mark of 6.86 held by Ramapo HS alum Mike Abelard. The Spartans return to competition on January 4 at the Tigers Open at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Mass. … Junior guard Audrey Matteson had a team-high 19 points as the Nyack College women’s basketball team fell to visiting University of the Sciences, 77-74. Junior forward Meghan Richards of Nanuet played 19 minutes with four points, three rebounds and three assists for the Warriors, who visit Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., on Dec. 20 and return home on January 2 to welcome Caldwell (N.J.) College at 6 p.m. … Junior Paul Fields of New City won by 8-2 decision at 125 pounds in the opening bout as the SUNY Cortland wrestling team overpowered visiting RIT, 43-0, in its season opener at Corey Gymnasium. The Red Dragons, ranked fifth in the nation, are in Las Vegas on Dec. 21 to compete in the Desert Duals with St. John’s (Minn.), Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) and Olivet (Mich.) College. … Joe Clinton of Pearl River had a game-high seven assists and MVP candidate Nick Smith of Middletown scored a game-high 30 points, but the previously unbeaten Dominican College men’s basketball team fell to non-conference foe Eckerd College, 70-67, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Chargers (7-1) will host the eighth annual James Clancy Memorial Tournament at the Hennessy Center in Orangeburg on January 3-4, meeting Bentley University and Southern Connecticut State University, respectively. Luke Houston of Pearl River is a stalwart at Southern Connecticut State. Houston, a guard, is averaging 10 points for the Owls, is second on the team with 32 assists, and leads the team in rebounds with 54 and in steals with 21.
THIS & THAT
The Pearl River HS girls cross country team and the North Rockland HS boys soccer team were ranked one-two in the final fall edition of “Doherty’s Dandy Dozen,” a regular feature provided by the tireless Tom Doherty, a former Pearl River coach, AD and teacher, who strives to promote interest in Rockland County sports. The Pirates, coached by veteran Dan Dohery, ran fourth at the state Federation meet and placed seventh at the Nike National Championship qualifying meet. The Red Raiders, mentored by Vincent Apicella, were a Class AA state finalist after winning a regional crown. Tom Doherty, incidentally, is enjoying a new edition to the family. Quoting the good man himself: On a more important front, after 30-plus years of looking like a grandfather, I have finally entered the game! Congrats to our daughter Brigid and our son-in-law, Greg Breen, as their son, Jack Thomas Breen, was born December 12th!! Katie and I are so proud & happy!