OSSINING, N.Y. – Ossining High School wrestler Alex Delacruz is The Ossining Daily Voice Athlete of the Month for February.
Delacruz became the third wrestler in school history to win a state title when he emerged from the New York State Wrestling Championship Division I 120-pound weight class at the Times-Union Center in Albany on Feb. 23.
The junior has been wrestling since age six, and the state championship was the culmination of more than a decade of effort.
“I was excited. I was happy. I was just really kind of surprised, too,” Delacruz said. “It just felt unreal. It felt like I was dreaming because I’ve been dreaming about this moment for so long and now that it actually came true, it’s sick. It’s a crazy experience.”
Delacruz defeated Lancaster’s Steven Michel to secure the state title in front of family members. The sheer enormity of the match, he said, was enough to make him a little nervous.
“It was overwhelming, especially just the crowd looking at you, watching your match, everyone screaming,” Delacruz said. “It’s a scary thing to witness while wrestling but you’ve got to just go out there and do what you do best.”
For Delacruz to get to that final match, he had to slay his proverbial dragon in the semifinals in the form of Pearl River’s John Muldoon, whom Delacruz had faced four times.
“Me and him, we go at it every time we wrestle. It’s always up for grabs,” Delacruz said. “You never know who’s going to win going into that match.”
This time, Delacruz emerged victorious, much to the delight of coach Larry McRae.
“It was such a relief to see a kid who worked so hard for something finally have all the things fall his way in one weekend,” McRae said. “It was very special.”
The only drawback to Delacruz’s state title is that he set the bar awfully high for himself in his senior season. But he refuses to shy away from the challenge.
“I’m aiming for a second title. I don’t want to aim for anything lower than a state title for next year because winning this year was just a really great feeling,” Delacruz said. “I don’t want to go out there next year and not win it because I want to experience that feeling again.”
The Athlete of the Month is chosen by the sports reporters and editors of The Daily Voice.