ALBANY, N.Y. – Ossining High’s Alex Delacruz found himself in a familiar position Saturday in the third period of the New York State Wrestling Championship Division 1 120-pound final.
His opponent, Lancaster’s Steven Michel, was in deep on a shot attempt, but it was Delacruz who turned it into offense.
Delacruz countered it to secure a takedown and added back points for an eventual 11-7 victory over Michel at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Delacruz, who received a wild card to the state championships, became Ossining’s third state titlist joining Julius Smith (1994) and current Rider junior James Brundage (2009).
In addition to Delacruz, Edgemont senior Trey Aslanian brought home a title to Westchester County as he won the Division 2 120-pound championship.
“Since the sectional final we have been telling Alex that the last two Section 1 state champions came from his weight,” Ossining coach Larry McRae said.
Delacruz advanced to the state final with a 6-4 overtime win over rival John Muldoon of Pearl River in a semifinal. Muldoon had beaten Delacruz twice this season, including the sectional final.
“We made some adjustments off the sectional final to get past some stuff with Muldoon,” McRae said. “Once Alex got by Muldoon, it was like a 100-pound weight was lifted off of his shoulders and he was able to wrestle free and his style.
“Alex has dedicated himself since he first started at the age of 6. He’s watched other guys from his weight class win and now he has a piece of what everyone else has.”
Yorktown senior Joe Mastro became the program’s first place-finisher, taking third in the Division I 152-pound weight class. Five minutes later, classmate Thomas Murray placed fourth at 182 pounds.
Somers’ senior Dylan Realbuto (126 pounds) and Fordham Prep senior and Mohegan Lake resident Sam Melikian (132 pounds) each finished third. Fox Lane senior Tommy Grippi closed out his career with his 200th varsity win to finish fifth at 145. New Rochelle junior Nick Barbaria finished fifth at 106, becoming New Rochelle’s first two-time state place-finisher.
In Division II, Ardsley four-time sectional champ Drew Longo finished fourth at 138 and Irvington’s Brett Pastore was sixth at 152.
Mastro lost his first-round match, then demonstrated mental toughness and determination to win five consecutive matches to finish third.
“I was so tense and so nervous in my first match,” Mastro said. “I lost a match I never felt I should have lost. After that, all of my coaches spoke to me and told me I was going to take third,
“Once I got my first win in wrestlebacks, I was a lot more relaxed and went after it," he said. "I stayed composed and wrestled smart. Once I started wrestling my match, good things happened.”
Grippi joins former Fox Lane teammate Steven Rodrigues in the 200-win club.
"It feels good," said Grippi of his 200th win. "I would have liked to have gotten it in the semifinals but it's still a nice feeling."
Grippi has family bragging rights over older brothers Joey and Peter.
"I'm the only Grippi to finish my high school career with a win so I have that over my brothers," said Grippi, with a laugh.