OSSINING, N.Y. – Alex De La Cruz wasted little time preparing for the current high school wrestling season.
The Ossining junior and 2012 Section 1 Division I 113-pound champion returned home from the state championships in February and began his off-season weightlifting regimen the next day. Da La Cruz did this because he was not happy with his state showing – a 1-2 record.
“I froze up,” said De La Cruz during a break in a four-team wrestling workout at Yorktown. “I didn’t wrestle well or express my way of wrestling. I didn’t wrestle how I wrestled at sectionals.”
De La Cruz had pinned eventual state champ Dylan Realbuto of Somers in a semifinal before decisioning North Rockland’s Troy Feniger in the final.
De La Cruz, who was also a sectional finalist in 2011, said he approached the off season with much more intensity and a more determined work ethic. He also watched and analyzed his matches at the state championships, almost daily, to show him what he did not do.
“I feel that I have been a lot more intense and a lot more focused,” said De La Cruz, who was going live with Yorktown’s Jimmy Kaishian and Brewster’s Nick McGill. “I wanted to tune up my wrestling in regards to my technique and conditioning. I have also been working on my mental approach.”
De La Cruz will have added motivation this season to win a second consecutive sectional title. He realizes his opponents, especially the high-caliber wrestlers, will want nothing better than to beat the sectional champion.
“I will feed off of this and it will make me even more hungry,” De La Cruz said. “If I ever find myself slacking off, which I don’t plan on, I will remind myself of this.”
De La Cruz is even more psyched for the season because of the team’s potential. Seniors Trent LoFaro, Leo Rosenberg, Doug Rothman and Greg Lamb, along with De La Cruz comprise a veteran nucleus with a host of returning underclassmen.
“Practice has been much more intense this year with our conditioning and live wrestling,” said De La Cruz of Ossining coach Larry McRae. “We’re pretty solid. I think we’re going to come in as underdogs this year because nobody is expecting us to be a good dual-meet team.”