Central Valley Thunder wrestling tied with Mattituck (Long Island) as the best small school program in New York.
That’s what the New York Sportswriters Association says. And so does the team’s performance on the mat.
The Thunder finished their season at 31-0 in dual meets and dominated the Section III Division II tournament. In addition, Central Valley will send six wrestlers—Mason Bush (99), Marek Bush (99) John Charles (106), CJ Walz (126), Hunter Shaut (138), and Tanner Cook (145) to the state tournament Feb. 24-25 in Albany.
Thunder coach Bob Bush said Central Valley had been ranked behind number one Mattituck throughout the season. Without the opportunity to wrestle for a state team title, he had resigned himself to finishing second. The call from the sportswriters came as a huge surprise.
“I was shocked,” Bush said with a big grin.
Although the focus at a meet is the individual wrestler, this is a team title. Wrestlers in all 15 weight classes had to perform for the Thunder to earn this honor. Bush is quick to praise every wrestler for carrying his weight.
As to the outcome of a Central Valley-Mattituck meet? Central Valley’s best wrestlers are in the lower weight classes. Mattituck’s best wrestlers are in the upper. Central Valley is sending six wrestlers to states versus Mattituck’s eight. Central Valley is 31-0; Mattituck is 24-4.
Bush admits it would have been tough, but he would have loved to see the title determine on the mat.