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Fox Lane Wins Second Straight Sectional Title

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Tommy Grippi had two weeks to digest and analyze his loss to Mahopac’s Jake Srednicki in the Super 16 138-pound final.

After watching the video of that match numerous times, as well as Srednicki’s matches against brother Peter last year, Grippi came to a conclusion.

“I said to myself that I was not going to lose to him again,” Grippi said.

Grippi went out and dominated Srednicki with an 8-0 victory in the 138-pound final at the Section 1 Large School Wrestling Championships/New York State Qualifier.

Fox Lane won the team title with 182.5 points as Matt Pasqualini’s victory in the 160-pound final catapulted the Foxes to their second consecutive title and fourth in five years. Sam Speno (126 pounds) won his third sectional title and Danny Ventura (132) captured his first.

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.

Somers senior Brian Realbuto (152) made Section 1 wrestling history by winning his fifth sectional championship.

“In that match at Super 16, he was getting points late in the period and he was getting in on easy shots,” Grippi said. “I worked on how to defend his shot and how to ride him out.”

Grippi got a quick takedown in the first period and kept Srednicki on the mat. In the second period, Grippi opened with an escape, took Srednicki down and added three points on a tilt.

“I felt confident coming in and once I got the first takedown I was able to ride him out,” Grippi said. “I stayed motivated and did not let down. I had a lot of support from my family and my whole team. It feels great.”

Grippi was supported by older brothers, Joey and Peter, who returned home from Springfield College for the day. Grippi also received a boost from assistant coach Anthony Rodrigues. Rodrigues had his son Steven’s singlet from last year. He gave it to Grippi for the final, but did not tell him about it.

Tommy Grippi has an opportunity to equal Joey next year when he goes for a second sectional title.

Fox Lane trailed runner-up North Rockland by one-half point going into the 16-pound final. Pasqualini needed to win and he responded with an 8-3 victory over Hen Hud’s Phil Siegel.

Speno, a four-time sectional finalist, won his third sectional title, joining former Fox Lane great Joe Amuso Jr. as the only Foxes to have done this. Speno decisioned Matt Caputo, 6-2, in the final. He also surpassed older brother, Luke, a two-time champ.

Ventura, the 119-pound runner-up last year, pinned Scarsdale’s John Tambunting for his first sectional championship.

“It was sweeter winning it the first time because it was unexpected,” Speno said. “This year I was expected to win, but it was still great.”

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