An example of the type of light the wrestling parents hope to add to the gym.

Put A Pin In It

Parents hope to put a spotlight on wrestling program
Imagine it: the mat is out, the wrestlers are preparing for the match. The gym lights dim, and the spotlight drops down and snaps on, illuminating the match in a brilliant halo of light. The spectators are drenched in shadow, but the boys are highlighted in sharp relief as they grapple. For Manhasset’s varsity and junior varsity wrestling teams, this may soon be a reality.
Stephan Sair has been Manhasset wrestling’s head coach for 14 years. He described a recent match against a team that has a spotlight as an a-ha moment for the parents of his team. “The parents actually got a good look at the spotlight this year when we wrestled Cold Spring Harbor and saw how cool the environment is with the spotlight. It really highlights the actual wrestling match and creates a unique feel throughout the gym when you have a spotlight on top of the mat.” Sair said.
Maria Pescatore, the main organizer of the movement to add the spotlight, loved the drama and focus the light added to that game. “I went up to the other coach, and I said, ‘Where did you get that? how do I go about getting one of those?’ So, he gave me the vendor information, and I reached out to them. Then I spoke to the school. I wrote an email to the board, and I said, ‘What do I have to do to get approval?’ We got approval for the school the gym, and it could be used for any sport, really. We’re going to put an M with the two colors on it and put it where the matches will be. That’s the goal, to add that to the program,” said Pescatore.
The wrestling team is unique in that the schedule requires a lot of travel over greater distances, which can mean overnight stays and renting coach busses, which are not covered by the district. This includes the spotlight. The burden of that fundraising falls to the parent organization. They raise the money through selling concessions and donations. “A lot of things are not paid for by the district. Meaning like the busses, the tournament fees, it’s all paid by us. So by us raising the money, it helps our coach bring them to better tournaments so they can grow as kids and as people.” Pescatore said.
Coach Sair also thinks the spotlight will be a great addition to the gym, as it adds a layer of intensity to the matches and helps the wrestlers be in the moment. “I think as far as for the program, it would be cool, not only for our kids to wrestle under a spotlight, But it’s also great for the parents and spectators and administrators, teachers, anyone else who comes to a match. It really brings a different level of appreciation for the sport. It’s just cool. It’s intense.”
Pescatore has been impressed with coach Sair and the way he has built up the team. Wrestling is a difficult, demanding sport, and he seeks to get the most out of his participants. “Our coach has made Manhasset a name with the (wrestling) program. He’s wonderful, he’s so good to the kids. The kids love him, they’ll do anything to make themselves better for the coach and for the program… It was not known at all amongst other districts and other places. And as each year grew, each of our boys has grown and they are taking that step further. And we’re actually being recognized as a district and as a team to be powerful and strong.”
Manhasset wrestling is on a bit of a roll this year. They won against the number one team in the conference. “We just won our sixth straight conference championship with a really young team. We don’t have many veterans, but the ones we have are great leaders and hard workers, showing the kids how to work and go about wrestling the right way. And it’s turned into a lot of success this season. We were able to beat the first-place team in the conference and win. We were able to win several tournaments as a team. The kids have been great. They’ve been fun. They work hard, they get along really well, And this year, it has been really a pleasure to coach this team.” Said Sair.
Pescatore is hoping the spotlight will bring attention to the program and encourage more students to join. “If we give these kids a little attention maybe other kids will join, after seeing that the neighborhood loves them and appreciates how hard they’re working.”


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