BEDFORD, N.Y. – Fox Lane senior Tommy Grippi has been focusing on this year's state wrestling championships since his final match at the 2012 tournament.
Grippi came within one match of placing in the top six in Division 1 (large school). The loss has driven him to return to Albany and he has done so.
Grippi takes the mat Friday at 9:30 a.m. at the Albany Times-Union Center for the opening of the 2013 New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships. This will be his second consecutive appearance, and the fourth overall for the Grippi family. His older brother, Joey, finished second in 2010 and sixth in 2009 in his two appearances.
“I was devastated when I lost in the placing round because I knew I was right up there,” said Grippi, who has 197 wins. “Now I know what to expect and what it feels like wrestling on the big stage in Albany. I never watched or discussed that last match. It gives me more drive going to Albany.”
Grippi, seeded fourth at 145 pounds, will face Nigel Williams of Eagle Academy (New York City) in his first-round match. A win would send Grippi on to face the winner of Anthony Deprez (Hilton)-Nicholas Alessandrini (St. Anthony’s of Long Island).
Grippi has been a regular at the state tournament, starting as a fan. He witnessed his brother’s place finishes and was there when former teammate Steven Rodrigues and good friends Brian and Dylan Realbuto of Somers and New Rochelle graduate Malcolm Allen won state titles.
“I’ve always loved going to states to watch my brother, Fox Lane teammates and other Section 1 guys compete,” Grippi said. “It’s the biggest tournament of the year. I expect my brother Matt to be there, throughout his career, starting next year.”
Grippi goes into the state championships right where he wants to be, wrestling at his best.
“I don’t want to feel the pain that I felt after last year,” Grippi said. “The key for me is going there and performing my best. This is my sixth year wrestling on varsity and I want to make it my best by winning a state title and bringing it back to my family, my school and my community.”