LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y.— Ever since he started wrestling in third grade, Mahopac’s Mike Muldoon had a dream of winning a section title.
In his final chance as a senior, that dream became a reality.
Muldoon pinned Lakeland/Panas’ Brandon DiDomenico in just 32 seconds to claim the 113-pound Section 1 Division 1 title on Feb. 11 at Arlington High School.
“It means the world to me,” Muldoon said of winning a section title. “I’ve been training year-round since middle school. It’s awesome to finally get what I worked for.”
Muldoon, the top seed, had defeated DiDomenico before and noticed he has a tendency to go for a takedown very early in the match. He was more than ready for it.
“From studying the film, he takes those shots and I got the headlock,” Muldoon said. “I just waited for the same thing. He took that shot and I worked the front headlock, took him to his knee and got the cradle.”
Mahopac coach Dennis DiSanto was excited for Muldoon and admitted that it’s rare to see a quick pin in the sectional finals.
DiSanto said that confidence was the key factor in Muldoon getting to that next level.
“He’s always been aggressive and he’s always been a fighter,” the coach said. “He’s the kind of wrestler that just plugs, plugs, plugs. I think his confidence level was pretty high. He really felt he could win it.”
The senior captain, who placed third at sectionals last season at 126 pounds, put in plenty of hard work in the offseason to attain his goal.
It sure paid off.
“The next week after sectionals (last year) I was already back in the room working,” Muldoon said. “I’ve been on a mission to win it.”
In the semifinals, Muldoon scored a dominant 13-0 majority decision win over Suffern’s Will Marin. Muldoon netted a 17-1 technical fall of teammate Andi Berisha in the quarterfinals.
“He looked really good in the semifinals,” DiSanto said. “I could see he was just in the zone.”
Muldoon dropped two weight classes in the offseason. He went from eating Burger King every day as a junior to eating clean his senior year. DiSanto was concerned about the big drop in weight at first.
“I was like, ‘Mike, I don’t know. I think it’s a lot of weight,’” DiSanto said. “I wasn’t 100 percent sure about it. Then he got certified and we said, ‘When you get down there, let’s see how you feel because you could get down there and you may feel terrible.’ I’ve seen that happen also. But he got down and he felt pretty good so we went with it.”
Senior Garrett Semenetz, a defending Section 1 champion at 99 pounds, placed third in the same weight class this season. Semenetz, the No. 2 seed, defeated Horace Greeley’s Matthew Schreiber, 5-2, in the third-place match.
The senior, who battled injuries and illness this season, fell to eventual section champion Ivan Garcia of Port Chester 7-3 in the semifinals.
“Garrett had a rough start to the season,” DiSanto said. “He was sick, lost his first match, hurt his shoulder and missed three weeks. He came back and lost to [Arlington’s Dennis Robin] and then he beat Garcia in a dual meet. Garcia’s really good. I know from experience that there are freshman that come out of nowhere and they’re good. That was the case in Garcia – he’s a real solid wrestler.”
Semenetz pinned John Jay-Cross River’s Julianna Duva in 48 seconds in the quarters and stuck Beacon’s Quazir Hayes’ shoulders to the mat in just 36 seconds in the first round.
DiSanto thinks Semenetz could earn a wild card berth into the state tournament.
Mahopac finished 12th out of 33 squads in the team standings with 62.5 points. Frankie Scauzillo (99 pounds) and Berisha (113) each reached the quarterfinals, but neither placed.
Muldoon now moves on to the New York State championships, which take place on Feb. 24-25 at the Times Union Center in Albany.
“I’m going to wrestle hard and wrestle tough for six minutes,” Muldoon said. “And hopefully get the same outcome.”