NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. Four Archbishop Stepinac wrestlers competed in the Catholic High School Athletic Association Divisional Wrestling Championships at Salesian High School Friday with four Crusaders mat men qualifying for the CHSAA State Championships at Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island this coming Saturday and Sunday.
AJ Revellese took second place in the 152-pound weight division, Brandon Gray placed third at 120 pounds, Chris Bernard was third at 160 pounds and Omer Turhan wrestled to a third-place finish at 220 pounds.
Revellese became the first Stepinac wrestler to be in the New York City finals. The Crusaders did not have a wrestling team for many years before the current crop rejuvenated the program two years ago.
My experience at divisional was unlike any other tournament Ive ever been too, Revellese said. Being seeded second for my weight class was a huge honor. Luckily, I only needed to win one match to be in the semifinals. I was up against someone who I wrestled last year and he had won that match. I was ready for a rematch and as soon as the whistle blew I went right after it and came away with a 9-1 victory.
Bernard won three of his four matches to qualify for the state tournament.
I had a great time at divisionals, Bernard said. I got a chance to see some of my good friends from other schools and was able to sit down, relax and hang out with them for a while. It was also a very physically demanding day. I wrestled in some very tough matches but was thankful for the fact that I won three out of four matches and qualified. I was happy that I got a chance to support my teammates in their matches and witness two more kids qualify for the state tournament.
Turhan said he enjoyed the experience and learned from watching top wrestlers in the area compete.
My experience was fun and I learned a lot, Turhan sad. To be able to watch the finals matches between the best wrestlers in the city division should be considered a privilege. At a tournament like this you can learn a lot just by watching other matches. I also got to test how well Ive been improving my technique during the last couple of weeks of practice.
Gray, who suffered an injury last year and did not compete, hoped to get through his first match and advance.
This was my first time at divisionals, because I had broken my collar bone last year during a match, Gray said. I was nervous at first with my season at risk of ending if I lost my first match. That all ended as soon as I stepped onto the mat. After I won my first two matches, my spot in states was secured, so I had nothing to lose for the state championships.
From a report by Thom Gwin/Stepinac Wrestling
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