SUFFERN — The list of local wrestlers who were expected to compete for titles at the ultra-competitive Kohl Invitational on Saturday was considered to be limited, and it’s safe to say that Suffern junior Tyrick Jackson wasn’t at the top of it.
But the 195-pounder sent a message with his pin in the finals against Bethpage’s Liam Miller, proving that he could be a force to be reckoned with in the coming weeks.
“I felt really good today,” Jackson said. “I work hard every day, and I’m going to prove it next week (at the Rockland County Championships). And then, hopefully, I’ll prove it at sectionals so that I can go to states.”
Jackson was one of only three Kohl champs from Section 1, along with East Ramapo sophomore Romello Bradley (132 pounds) and Somers senior Luke Roediger (170).
Bradley ran into top-seeded Jamie Panuto of Monroe-Woodbury in the finals, but notched an early takedown and showed his strength on top by holding on for a 2-0 decision.
“Hey, it shocked me, and it shocked my coaches, too,” Bradley said of the upset. “In the first, I did a little snap and got him down, and I rode him out for the rest of the period. And then he chose down (to start the second), and I rode him out until the third period.”
Roediger picked up pins in all three of his matches to claim his title, displaying his ability to finish.
“We’ve worked on a lot of cradles at practice throughout this last week, and I worked them and got a couple,” he said. “It just feels so much better when you stick a guy – just to know that you can turn him and control him like that.”
Fellow Tusker Dom Celli was hoping for a shot at Port Jervis’ Dan DeCarlo, who is currently ranked second in the state at 160 pounds, but he was pulled from the tournament after suffering an ankle injury in the quarterfinals.
“It was tough,” Roediger said. “Dom really wanted to wrestle, but coach told him that it was a better idea to not and rest, so that he didn’t get hurt further.”
No local team placed higher than host Suffern, which took third after also putting Peter Oliveto (106) and Peter Pjetri (182) into the finals.
Monroe-Woodbury, currently the top-ranked team in the state, claimed the title.
“It goes a long ways towards making our kids tougher in the long run,” Suffern coach Chris Matteotti said. “I mean, wrestling the best competition is how you’re going to get better. Right now, we were a little outclassed wrestling these guys, but it’s going to pay off.”
Photos by Peter Carr/The Journal News