ARDSLEY, N.Y. – With seven returning seniors and 13 veteran wrestlers back, the Ardsley High varsity wrestling team came into preseason with an intensity unmatched in previous years and opened its practice with a new approach.
“In the past couple of years we would not have gone live until maybe two or three weeks into the season,” said Drew Longo, a senior and three-time Section 1 Division II champion. “On the first day of practice we were going hard and banging heads on the mat.
“Everyone was working really hard this summer for this, and everyone wants to make this year the best we can.”
Ardsley had not had this many experienced wrestlers since the teams of Drew’s brother Derrick Longo, Penn Gottfried, Danny Manley and Chis Vingo, just to name a few.
The senior contingent is made up of 2012 sectional finalist Jonah Gerstel and fourth-place finisher Stephen Samolsky, as well as Russel and Jeremy Kogan, Daniel Cohen, Justin Rabadi and Longo. Juniors Guy Backland and Paul Polintan returned, as did sophomores Evan Schlom, Adam Samolsky, Melvin Jones and Brendan Smith.
Gerstel and Samolsky’s live wrestling on Day 1 of practice was intense, Longo said.
“We’re definitely coming in as an experienced team,” Longo said. “Everyone is aware of their capabilities and potential, and everyone has gotten much better. This is the year we need to execute.”
The team is working collectively to raise the level, he said. “Everyone is eager to learn more so we are playing off of each other’s strength. Everyone is working with each other on what we need to work on to get better.”
Ardsley knows it can exceed last year's results, when it placed fifth in the Section 1 Division II championships.
“We are really excited so see what we can do this year,” Longo said.