By Mike Zummo
After finishing fourth at last year’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship meet, Valley Central sophomore Luke Satriano has his sights set on one goal.
Win the whole thing.
Satriano will make his second trip to the NYSPHSAA Division I wrestling championships, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the MVP Arena in Albany.
“I’m hoping to get a state title,” Satriano said. “I’m excited.”
Satriano, who will compete at 110 pounds after finishing fourth at 102 last year, highlights a group of five local wrestlers who will compete in Albany this weekend.
He got close last year, finishing fourth after reaching the semifinals. He opened last year’s tournament by pinning Brentwood’s Jason Euceda and then went on to defeat Midwood’s Evin Gursoy to reach the semifinals.
The semifinals is where he ran into trouble as he as beaten by the No. 3 seed Dunia Sibomana of Long Beach, 9-6. He wrestled back over Ballston Spa’s Ralph Keeney to reach the consolation finals, where he was defeated by Gursoy to finish fourth.
But the first experience taught him what to expect when he returns to Albany this weekend.
“It’s a lot of people and a big crowd,” Satriano said. “You just have to put that past you and do what you do.”
He’ll be joined by his teammate Richie Degon, who won a Section 9 championship at 126 pounds; Wallkill’s Rocco Futia, a Section 9 champion at 118 pounds; and the 132-pound and 189 second-place finishers from Pine Bush High School, brothers Logan and Braydon Pennell.
Degon, who returned to the mat this year after a torn labrum to win the 126-pound championship with a pinfall victory over Warwick’s Griffin Petzold, is eager to experience the state meet.
“Getting that experience is going to be a great time,” Degon said after winning the Section 9 championship. “We’re going to come through a lot of adversity and just wrestle.”
Futia, a senior, is aiming for the podium after not placing at his first tournament appearance last year. He’s trained hard to get there, and this time clinched his berth by winning the Section 9 championship at 118 pounds over Minisink Valley’s Wyatt Boice.
Futia made the second day of last year’s tournament by winning his first-round match but fell in the second round to the eventual third-place finisher Wantagh’s Joseph Clem. He pinned Ryan Massengale of Horseheads and lost to Merrick’s Raymond Adams to get eliminated.
The Pine Bush Bushmen are sending its brothers to the state tournament, as Brydon Pennell is making his final appearance as a senior and his younger brother Logan, a sophomore, is going for the first time.
Braydon Pennell went 1-1 at last year’s state meet. This year’s meet is about Logan getting himself some experience for the next two years.
“I think anything other than placing would be a disappointment for Braydon,” Pine Bush coach Patrick Sause said. “Logan, we’re going to have to try to win a couple matches to get the experience for next year.”