YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. Midway through the high school wrestling season, Yorktowns Steven Sabella and his teammates noticed an increase in interest among their peers.
We started getting bigger crowds at our matches and we had peers asking what our record was and how many wins did each of us have, said Sabella, in his fourth varsity season. Not only were we getting positive feedback from the students, we were also getting positive feedback from the teachers.
The wrestling team was clearly distinguishing itself within the school and throughout Section 1 as it was in the midst of its finest season ever.
Yorktown went on to win a league title, finish fifth in the Section 1 Division I (large school) Wrestling Championships, its best showing ever, and have two sectional champions in one season David Varian (285 pounds) and Sabella (170 pounds) for the first time in program history.
Overall, Yorktown had four finalists with Joe Mastro (145) and Thomas Murray (182) and Jimmy Kaishian (120) finished fifth.
Yorktowns five place finishers are all juniors and were promoted to varsity as eighth-graders by then first-year coach John Tornambe.
Weve been working toward this since eighth-grade, Sabella said. We wanted to show that Yorktown wrestling was stepping up. We felt we recognized our goals. The team did great and as individuals we did great.
Coming into the season, Yorktown was motivated by its 2011 Section 1 performance.
We werent happy at all because we felt we didnt have as strong of a showing as we liked, said Sabella of the 2011 Section 1 Division I Championships. That drove us during the offseason to work harder and wrestle more. We wanted it that much more this year.
In late December, Yorktown showed that it was a rising power. The Cornhuskers had five champions and were runners-up at the prestigious Mid-Hudson Tournament.
We were kind of the underdogs going in and that put us on the radar, Sabella said.
Sabella said the teams performance at sectionals was awesome, not only with his and Varians wins, but also with Mastro and Murray wrestling for titles and Kaishian taking fifth.
We know coach was really happy with what we did, Sabella said. We wanted to peak at the right time, which is what we did, and the results speak for themselves. It was also awesome for coach because he raised us up to this level.
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