Pat Thomas, Mario Carrera and Ethan Zaweski all shared the same reasons to grin and frown.
The three Riverhead High School varsity wrestlers each scored a pin Wednesday night to win their bouts, but the short-handed Blue Waves' team lost 60-24 at home against the Comsewogue Warriors.
"It is nice to get an individual win, but you wish the team could pull it off," said Carrera, a senior at 160 pounds after his second pin of the season. "We definitely need to work to get better."
Thomas, a senior who competes at 135 pounds, is already one of the better prep wrestlers in Suffolk County, and assistant coach Tom Riccio said he is the most aggressive on the 27-man roster.
With a team-best 18-1 season record, Thomas totals 14 pins.
"I am really good on top (of the opponent)," said Thomas. "It is all about working hard and reaching your goals -- to be the county champ."
Thomas, who was quick to pounce and get a quick pin Wednesday, has made an impressive recovery from an injury. He said he fractured his spine in Nov. 2009 and missed 12 weeks of action before rejoining the team.
Zaweski scored Riverhead's first six points after Comsewogue built an early 24-0 advantage thanks to two Riverhead forfeits, a disqualification for an illegal slam at 285 and a pin at 96 pounds.
"I was confident in myself," said Zaweski, a sophomore at 103 pounds. "I have been working hard in the (wrestling) room and it showed on the mat. I give it my all in practice. I try to go harder and harder and push myself each day.
"I want to be a better wrestler and to prove to myself that I can go all out and do my best."
The Blue Waves won five of the 15 individual bouts Wednesday.
Christian Krumbiegel, a senior at 130 pounds, posted an 11-4 decision.
Gabe Rice, a senior at 140, showed some courage to get a 6-4 decision. He neeeded a timeout to stop a bloody nose before he produced a two-point takedown with five seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Six Riverhead wrestlers were pinned.
"We are missing two weight classes (forfeits at 189 and 215 pounds) and that hurt us," said Carrera, also a versatile starter for the 2010 Riverhead varsity football team.
In addition, two first-year RHS wrestlers and a third-stringer competed Wednesday.
The Blue Waves, with a 4-3 record for dual matches, won the 2010 Suffolk League IV regular-season championship and tournament. They finished last season 14-2 for long-time head coach Wade Davey.
"We have won the league championship seven of the last 10 years," said Riccio, an assistant coach for 10 years. "Wade works them hard and gets the results . . . (but) we are having a down year. We are so young; only five seniors."
Carrera returned to the mat last fall.
"He's our most improved," said Riccio. "He did not wrestle as a junior. He came back this year and he is vastly improved."
For their respective weight class, Thomas and Rice are both listed No. 5 in the current Suffolk rankings posted by the Long island Wrestling Association.
With a big rally at home last week, the Blue Waves erased a 15-point defcit and surged to beat Half Hollow Hills West 42-36.
"We won the last four weight classes to win the match," said Riccio. "In the 10 years I have been at Riverhead we have had good teams, but I can't remember us rallying from that far back."
Chavar Gilmore gained six points with a forfeit at 189 pounds. Warner Cavajal scored a pin at 215 and Shawn Yarborough showed power at heavyweight (285) with a pin.
Ryan Gevinski, a ninth grader, clinched the team victory with a decision at 96 pounds.