Joey Grippi had a sophomore year on the mat that many college wrestlers would aspire to.
The Springfield College wrestler finished second in the New England Wrestling Association tournament and earned a wild-card berth to the Division III Wrestling Championships. Even with his success, the 2009 Fox Lane graduate was still not pleased.
Last year I had a lot of injuries that kept me out of the room for periods of time so it was hard to get a good rhythm going and be consistent throughout the year, said Grippi, a physical education major. Overall, I had an ok sophomore year, but feel I did not perform anywhere near where I am this year or in the past.
A two-time Section 1 large-school champion and twice a New York State place finisher, Grippi is currently ranked eighth in the country at 133 pounds and first in New England. Grippi has helped lead Springfield to a No. 2 ranking in New England and No. 11 slot nationally.
Grippi can trace his success this season to one major factor -- he has been injury-free. As a result, Grippi has become a workhorse in the wrestling room daily.
I feel I have been wrestling pretty well this year and the difference is me being able to practice consistently, Grippi said.
Grippi opened his season with a fourth-place finish in a tournament, then reeled off three consecutive tournament titles -- Doug Parker, Messiah and Williams. He was also named most outstanding wrestler in the Williams tournament. Grippi followed that up by going 3-0 at the Lycoming Dual-Meet tournament as Springfield reached the final.
Grippi, who was home along with brother and teammate Peter to watch younger brother Tommy win the 2012 Section 1 Large School 138-pound title recently, is looking forward to the postseason. The New England Wrestling Association Championships will be held, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 25 and 26, at Trinity College.
Rankings are nice and it is an honor to be ranked with the best Division III wrestlers in the country, but rankings dont mean too much to me, Grippi said. Its cool to be ranked, but at the end of the day all that matters is what happens on the mat.
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