Keegan Powers His Way to Top at County Championships
Head Coach Brian Scher, with Assistant Coaches Greg Domestico, second from left, and Billy Calvacca, far right, and Cian Keegan.
By Mitch Silver
Nine members of the Rye High School Wrestling team qualified for the 8th annual Westchester County Wrestling Championships at Lincoln High School in Yonkers on January 21, at which athletes from 25 schools competed. Rye’s qualifiers were senior co-captains Austin Bergamini (132-pound weight class) and Cian Keegan (172); juniors Eamon Bagley (132), Mauro Flores (152), and co-captain Hayden Harvey (160); sophomore Max Bajuk (145); and freshmen Jack Anderson (160), Hunter Gilles (172), and CJ Luth (145).
Keegan powered his way through three higher-ranked opponents to make it to the finals in the 172-pound weight class. The much-anticipated finals had the entire gym engaged in what was a very tightly contested match-up. Keegan held on to win in a 9-8 decision over Kyle Peske of Hendrick Hudson to bring the belt home and become the first-ever Rye Garnets Westchester Champion.
“It was great to have my teammates cheering me on in the finals. We’ve all worked really hard this season,” said Keegan.
Their dedicated head coach, Brian Scher, had nothing but praise for his squad. “These guys have battled all year and have really put this team on the map. We hope to build on this next year and continue to contest against the top programs,” said Scher, who also teaches math. He made sure to thank his skilled assistant coaches, Greg Domestico and Billy Calvacca.
Also advancing to the Round of 16 was Joe Rafferty of Rye Country Day at 126-pounds, who pinned George Wright of Hen Hud in 1:48 before losing in the Quarterfinals. At 132, Garnets Bagley and Bergamini both lost in the Round of 16. The Wildcats’ Rhodes Boester advanced over Deven Comstock of John Jay-Cross River before losing in the Quarters.
Rye’s CJ Luth made it through the Round of 16 at 145 before losing in the Quarterfinals. Teammate Max Bajuk was pinned by JoJo Kern of John Jay-Cross River.
At 152-pounds, Tommy Antes of Horace Greeley decisioned Rye’s Mauro Flores. Rye Country Day’s Ricardo Coates, wrestling at 160-pounds, pinned Jake Llanos in the Round of 16 while Garnets Hayden Harvey and Jack Anderson failed to advance. Coates would lose in the Quarters.
At 172-pounds, Cian Keegan won the whole thing. In the same weight class, top seed Barrett Pennington of Rye Country Day was pinned in the Round of 16 and Keegan’s teammate, Hunter Gilles, lost to eventual semi-finalist Stamatelos.
Next up for the Garnets are the Sectional Qualifiers, and potentially Sectionals, at which three Rye wrestlers competed last year. Rye Country Day hosts the FAA League Championships Saturday, January 28. Wildcats Head Coach Rich Knazik said afterwards, “This weekend will be tough too, as both Brunswick and Greens Farms Academy have tremendous programs.”