The Martin Luther School in Maspeth hosted its 48th annual invitational wrestling tournament Saturday. Among the eight schools to participate in the event were Long Island Lutheran, the Collegiate School, Hackley School, Trinity School, the Dalton School, Metro Campus and Fordham Prep.
Each match throughout the event was held on one of the two mats set up in the school’s gym, with two matches playing at once. Collegiate School ended up winning the tournament with 186 total points. Metro Campus placed second with 181 points while Forham finished third with 117 points.
There were a total of 12 different weight classes for the event. The weight classes were divided into 104 lbs., 120 lbs., 128 lbs., 134 lbs., 140 lbs., 147 lbs., 154 lbs., 162 lbs., 174 lbs., 191 lbs., 217 lbs. and 287 lbs. The winners of these respective weight classes were Sandy Heyman of Collegiate, James Carlock of Collegiate, Matthew Sanchez of Metro Campus, Joshua Martinez of Martin Luther, Liam Johnson-Hill of the Dalton School, Liam Stiles of Collegiate, David Flores of Metro Campus, Alex Rodrigues of Collegiate, Lucas Vitale of Hackley, Graham Mason of Trinity, Isaac Bamaca Reyes of Metro Campus and Cayden Hooks of Metro Campus.
According to Martin Luther School Executive Director Jim Regan, this event has been able to provide more opportunities for the student-athletes by allowing for an extra three wrestlers for each team. This tournament also acts as an opportunity for many of the wrestlers to prepare for other big upcoming events like state qualifiers.
“We’ve had a rich tradition of some exceptional wrestling at the school,” Regan said. “It’s always been fun to be able to bring in wrestling programs from New York state public schools, New York City public schools, Catholic schools and independent schools in the metropolitan area. We’ve had some great competitions over the years.”
Since Martin Luther School put on the first tournament in 1975, it has been held almost every year in January. The only exceptions were when the tournament was canceled twice due to a snowstorm as well as in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were able to put the tournament on in 2022, albeit with some safety restrictions, like having each wrestler wear a mask. But Regan said this year marked a return to normalcy in the tournament.
Regan’s connection with Martin Luther School dates back to even before the first tournament was held. He started attending the school as a student in 1972. By 1979, he had already begun coaching wrestling there. He eventually became a full-time teacher at the school in 1981. Regan served as athletic director from 1983-2017 before becoming the school’s executive director.
According to Regan, the school reaches out each year to the other schools that have been a part of the tournament since its inception to see if they’re interested in taking part again. Additionally, they have had the opportunity to identify other programs for the tournament, like the Metro Campus and the Hackley School, which participated for the first time this year.
“Not too many schools take on the responsibility of hosting events [like this],” Regan said. “They [need to] have the facilities and the time on their calendar to run an event like this.”
One of the most important aspects of this tournament, according to Regan, is the fact that it brings back people who participated in the past to celebrate those taking part in the present. Many of the wrestlers he coached decades ago return to the school to see this event.
“They’ve created relationships, friendships and identities, all part of that tradition of Martin Luther wrestling, which I find very special,” Regan said. “When we get a chance to get these guys together, they get a chance to reconnect. The wrestling tournament drew back those who were part of our program for many years. I look forward to seeing them every year, as many are now parents with their own children that are wrestling and have their own careers. It’s nice to see how they grew and developed into fine young men.”