The rich tradition of wrestling at Patchogue-Medford High School has spanned across decades, yet the school record-holder in victories is set to graduate this June.
Bobby Pease, a 17-year-old Medford resident, has certainly left his mark on the Raiders wrestling program, amassing 159 victories, shattering the previous school record of 109 set in 2001 by Jerard Melito.
Pease earned All-League distinctions in five of his six years on varsity, was a League I champion in 2013, and a two-time All-County wrestler, placing fifth at 99 pounds as a freshman and third this past season at 160 pounds. He went 37-5 in his final season for Pat-Med.
“I think it’s awesome,” Pease said of holding the school record. “A lot of great wrestlers have come through Pat-Med, specifically my coach [Tom Anello], who has been a mentor to me.”
Anello, a 2002 graduate of Patchogue-Medford, became head coach of the varsity wrestling program of his alma mater during the 2011-12 season. It was Pease’s second season on the team in eighth grade.
Anello said Pease put in a lot of hard work to get to where he is today.
“He’s a great kid, absolutely loves wrestling,” Anello said. “He never missed a practice.”
Pease, Anello said, is extremely hard to score on because he’s best when he’s in top position. “He rides a lot of legs, so he turns a lot of kids and is able to get a lot of pins,” he said.
Pease actually secured the school record in wins his junior season on Senior Night against rival Sachem East.
Following the win, he went to go celebrate with his parents, Bob and Melissa, and it just so happened that Jerard Melito’s father was sitting right next to them the entire time. He congratulated Pease on the accomplishment.
“When I first started wrestling, I knew what the record was and I knew it was definitely possible to break it,” Pease explained. “Thank God I haven’t had an injury that kept me out a long time. I knew I could get it; I just couldn’t jinx it. Luckily that didn’t happen.”
Pease started wrestling at 7 years old, when he and his father would go to the Kid Wrestling Club at Pat-Med High School.
He eventually starting wrestling in clubs throughout Suffolk County and was called up to varsity in seventh grade wrestling in the 96-pound weight class. That season he went 7-14 against the likes of eventual state champion Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville and state placewinners in Commack’s Mike D’Angelo and Longwood’s Brett Brice.
Pease said that he knew his seventh-grade season was going to be a learning experience. He went 23-12 as an eighth grader and that’s when he started to take off. He credits his practice partner and fellow classmate Connor Remy for helping him throughout the years and Rocky Point coach Anthony Volpe, who helped train him outside of school.
“I believe that Section XI [Suffolk County], other than maybe one area in Pennsylvania, is the toughest county in the whole country to wrestle in,” he said.
Pease has verbally committed to continue his wrestling career at Long Island University’s Post campus, where a number of top high school wrestlers from across Long Island have been committing to recently as coach Joe Patrovich tries to rebuild the program.
Anello is proud that Pease is following in the footsteps of former Pat-Med wrestlers Jake Horton, Corey Ashe and Logan McGinn, all of whom went on to wrestle for Post.
“I think Bobby will have a great college career at LIU,” Anello said. “The way he improved in just his 11th to 12th-grade year was incredible, and I expect that as he grows he will continue to improve rapidly. I’m extremely happy to have him wrestling on Long Island, so I can continue to support him and the rest of my alumni in their college careers.”
Drew Budd is a Patchogue native and a staff sports reporter and photographer at The Southampton Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Bobby Pease breaks the school record against Sachem East. (courtesy)