ALBANY, N.Y. – Yorktown senior captain Andrew Finateri had the experience of a lifetime last weekend when he wrestled at the New York State Championships at the Times Union Center in Albany.
“It’s really different than most local tournaments, in that it’s not just in a high-school gym, but in an arena with a lot more things going on,” Finateri said. “It’s hard not to get caught up in it.”
The championships were held over two days, Feb. 28 and Feb. 29, with Finateri wrestling twice on the first day of the event.
Finateri faced the No. 1 wrestler in the country in the 120-pound weight class, Greg Diakomihalis of Hilton, in the first round.
While Finateri ended up losing to the eventual state champ, just being able to wrestle someone of Diakomihalis’ ilk was an experience in and of itself.
“It really opened up my eyes to how far I’ve come, and it was cool being under the spotlight,” Finateri said.
Finateri went up against Burnt Hills’ Tyler Rosini in the second round, losing that match, eliminating him from the tournament.
Still, Finateri was pleased with his effort upstate against the state’s top wrestlers.
“I feel I wrestled well, considering the competition, and even falling short of my goal of All-State, I was happy with the way I wrestled,” Finateri said.
Yorktown coach Eric Fama was beaming when talking about Finateri.
“We were very proud of the way he wrestled,” Fama said. “He deserved to be in this tournament and proved he could wrestle with the top guys in the state.”
Fama said that Finateri’s hard work, dedication, and positive attitude has led him to success.
“Those qualities will be missed in the wrestling room,” Fama said.
Finateri is the third Yorktown wrestler in the last four years to make it to the state championships. Connor Thomas (152 pounds) in 2018 and Chris Perry, who placed sixth at 106 pounds in 2017, were the others.
“Those kids all wrestled year-round and put in a lot of offseason work,” said Fama, of his trio that made it upstate.
Finateri said that he will miss the coaches the most.
“Eric Fama and Andrew and Frank Cabibbo are great coaches and great mentors, as well,” Finateri said. “I’ve spent so much time with them. It’s not going to be the same training without them.”
Fama feels that Finateri reaching the states can be a motivator for the Huskers’ other wrestlers.
“It’s definitely a great motivation for the younger guys, to see that they can get here and compete with the best,” Fama said.
Finateri’s next stop is wrestling at the Stevens Institute of Technology.
“I really don’t have any goals for college at the moment,” Finateri said. “I’m just excited to see the new experiences.”