Derrick Longo began preparing for the New England Wrestling Association Championships in early February with one goal in mind.
The Springfield College junior and Ardsley alumnus wanted to win his weight class and earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships, Friday and Saturday, March 9-10, at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse.
He will be joined by teammate and Fox Lane graduate, Joey Grippi, who won the 133-pound title.
Longo, who is currently ranked ninth at 165 in the Brute National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III Poll, was the 174-pound runner-up in the NEWA Championships last year.
Practice was a lot different for me the last three weeks, Longo said. I stopped running on my own and began doing bike matches with my coach and teammates. Bike matches are seven minutes and you sprint for the last 15 seconds of every minute. I started going to sleep earlier, around 10, ice-bathed every day and was eating even more healthy. I was focused going in and I knew what I wanted to accomplish.
Longo was seeded first in the 165-pound weight class entering the NEWA Championships and he walked away with the title.
Longo went 5-0 with a pair of wins in the finals. He decisioned Colin Crowell of Roger Williams College, 7-5, on overtime, of the first final, then posted a 10-1 major decision over Luke Taylor of the Coast Guard.
I felt I wrestled very well the first two periods and most of the third period, but he got a late takedown to force overtime, but I was able to get the takedown 20 seconds into overtime, said Longo of the Crowell match. There was a big crowd for the second match, or true finals. My whole family, my girlfriend, my friends and my teammates. I wanted to go to nationals.
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