Blue Devils Seek Wrestlers to Join the Fold

Huntington High School's boxing and wrestling club in 1934.

February 15, 2018

The Huntington High School wrestling program is looking toward the future. First year head coach Louis R. Giani is striving to build interest and participation in the sport. He said he’ll welcome with open arms anyone who decides to give it a try.

The varsity and junior varsity teams feature 15 weight classes each. The season runs from late November into February. There’s a team at J. Taylor Finley Middle School, too. The Finley season started in late January and will run into March.

Giani ran an introductory wrestling program for elementary school age students this winter to start building more interest in the program. Like any sport, wrestling isn’t for everyone. But many of those who decide to give it a try, quickly realize they really like it.

The Huntington wrestling program is one of the most celebrated in the state boasting a record 27 New York champions. The Blue Devils have crowned 84 individual Section XI champs and have claimed All-State honors 58 separate times.

Huntington has won 31 league dual meet team championships and 20 league tournament team titles. The Blue Devils have captured nine Section XI team crowns and five state tournament team championships.

Contact Giani ([email protected]) for more information about Huntington wrestling or joining the program.

Blue Devil Wrestling’s Roots Traced to 1933

James Sposato founded Huntington's boxing and wrestling club. This photo is from the  1934 yearbook.
James Sposato founded Huntington's boxing and wrestling club. This photo is from the 1934 yearbook.

The Huntington High School wrestling team traces its roots to 1933 when the school sponsored a boxing and wrestling club. The club ultimately led to the creation of an interscholastic team for the 1937 and 1938 seasons before the sport disappeared until 1951-52. It has been continuously offered ever since then.

The 1934 high school yearbook states “Boxing and wrestling, a club long desired by the students of H.H.S. was, for the first time, taken up seriously and successfully this year. Under expert supervision, great strides were taken in the development of individual talents. The boys, realizing the importance of healthy bodies, endeavored to include in their organization such means as would prove directly beneficial to their physical developments.”

At one time, boxing was growing in popularity in New York schools. Reportedly, it was eventually banned following the death of a student participant somewhere in the state. However, in Depression-era Huntington, a group of boys took a liking to it.

“Regular meetings were held in the gymnasium during which some groups followed a training schedule while others participated in an interesting elimination tournament,” according to The Huntingtonian. “Mr. Roscoe Baker, who acted as faculty advisor, was of great assistance in promoting interest both within the club and in stimulating a desire for interschool competition.”

Senior James Sposato was the founder and president of the club. He is described in the high school yearbook as “an accomplished boxer.” The yearbook states that Mr. Sposato “gave valuable instruction in the art of self-defense and refereed the bouts in the tournament. The boys expect that interest in the boxing and wrestling club will mount to new heights and that in years to come the benefits of this club will be enjoyed by a greater number of high school students.”

The club led to the establishment of a wrestling team, which was coached by William Class. Following the 1938 season, so many team members graduated and there was such a lack of interest in the sport that the team was discontinued until the early 1950’s when math teacher Frank Kubisa helped bring it back to life as its coach.

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