It wasn’t desperation time, but Northport needed something positive after losing five of its first bouts against Syosset.
Enter Nick Helrigel at 152 pounds.
“I really wanted to go out there and show my team what I could do and make everybody have a positive match from there on,” the junior said.
Helrigel did just that, pinning junior Parker Susser in 1:25.
The spark was ignited.
“If we didn’t start it there, we never would have made the comeback,” Northport coach Al Cicio said. “And then we got some nice pins that changed the match.”
The Tigers won seven of the next eight matches to rally and beat Syosset, 49-24, at the Northport Holiday Duals tournament Saturday afternoon.
Northport went on to beat St. Joseph by the Sea and Ward Melville to capture the tournament title.
“Anybody can be a spark,” Helrigel said. “It can be any weight class at any time. We always have good chemistry here.”
After winning by forfeit at 113 pounds, Syosset also picked up wins at 120, when freshman standout Vito Arujau defeated senior Paul Capobianco, 126, senior Jake Miller pinned senior Rob Giacopino and 132, and eighth-grader Steven Conte edged Nick Duestch 6-5 in the closest match of the dual.
Just like that, Northport had fallen into an 18-0 hole.
The Tigers won by forfeit at 138, but Syosset junior Jack Randazzo defeated junior Justin Ricuitti, 3-0, at 145 to give the Braves a 21-6 lead.
“A pin was my No. 1 priority to get my points on the board and help my team out,” Helrigel said. “It prospered after that.”
Cicio isn’t surprised Helrigel came through in a big spot.
“He’s a junior who is just coming into his own,” he said. “He’s got a lot of potential. He’s been working on his confidence. His technique is good, but he just hasn’t been able to put together a full six minutes of a match. He’s just starting to do that.”
Senior James Cicio followed with a pin over freshman Dillon Diaz in 53 seconds at 160 and senior Kenny Gallagher, a three-time All-League selection, picked up a majority decision over junior Matt Kahl at 170 to give Northport a 22-21 lead.
Senior Tommy Digiglio, the League II champion a year ago, continued the rally with a pin over sophomore Zach Gropper in just 27 seconds.
“He’s one of the best wrestlers in Suffolk at his weight and he thrives on times like that,” Al Cicio said. “He enjoys when the spotlight is on him.”
Senior Preston Perkins (285), junior Mike Ludwig (99) and sophomore Andrew Aline followed with pins for Northport, while senior Tayab Kirmani won 5-1 at 195.
“Once we get going it’s a good group of guys that can play off each other,” Digiglio said. “We get one pin and then we get another and another.”