Derrick Longo received an added confidence boost going into the Petrofes Wrestling Invitational at Messiah College.
The Springfield College junior and 2009 Ardsley graduate, found himself ranked No. 10 in the Division III 165-pound weight class. Now that Longo was ranked, he went out and proved he deserves to be moving up.
Longo won the 165-pound title, going 5-0. Longo, seeded second, punctuated it with a 3-2 win over top-seeded Zach Thompson of Gettysburg in the final.
Teammate Joey Grippi, a 2009 Fox Lane graduate, won the 141-pound weight class.Longo had three major decisions among his five wins, including a 15-4 triumph of third-seeded Rico Plummer of Messiah in the semis.
I felt very prepared and very confident, Longo said. I wanted to make a statement in this tournament because I finally cracked the top 10 ranking in the country. I wanted to show my coach, teammates, everyone that I deserved to be there.
Longo, who only allowed 14 points in the five matches, all on escapes, was not taken down once. The former three-time Section 1 Division II champion also wanted to win the tournament for a special person.
I really wanted to win for my mom, as well, because she comes to every tournament, Longo said. I really wanted to make her proud and in the last two tournaments I had come so close, but did not win.
Before taking the mat for his final, Longo received a lift from Grippi.
I have to give it up to Joey because I really fed off his big win in the finals, Longo said. He winning in the fashion that he did made me want to go out there and give Springfield another champion.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.