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Ossining's De la Cruz is Sectional Wrestling Champ

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Alex De la Cruz had just registered the biggest win of his Ossining wrestling career with a pin of Somers’ Dylan Realbuto in a Section 1 Large School Wrestling Championship 113-pound semifinal.

De la Cruz, who had lost to Realbuto, a 2011 Section 1 champ and New York State runner-up, earlier this season at Eastern States had accomplished his goal of beating the Somers’ junior. However, De la Cruz had one more match remaining, the 113-pound final. He would have to regain his focus.

“I really just kept my eye on the prize,” De la Cruz said. “I wanted to win a sectional title so bad and keep the Ossining tradition going.”

De la Cruz returned to the mat for the final and needed just 24 seconds to pin Pearl River’s John Muldoon and win the title Sunday at Pace University. As a result of his title and four pins, De la Cruz was selected as the most outstanding wrestler for large schools.

The 15 large-school champions earned an automatic berth to the New York State Wrestling Championships Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24 and 25, at the Times Union Center in Albany. The wrestlers who are alive for wild cards will learn Wednesday if they received one.

De la Cruz was trailing Realbuto in the third period of their match when he reversed his opponent and began executing a cradle.

“It was late in the match and I knew I had to go for something big,” De la Cruz said. “Before I had the cradle in, I had no idea what I was going to do.”

De la Cruz locked it up and finished the pin with 12 seconds remaining in the match.

“I didn’t want to lose that cradle so I locked it as tight as I could,” De la Cruz said. “Winning the semifinal was great because he is such a great wrestler and I had never beaten him before. That was an amazing accomplishment.”

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