That was a departure for an Indians team that had established itself among the Section 1 elite, winning the 2010 Section 1 Division I championship. Smith and his teammates aim to reverse last year’s record, and they took a step in that direction Saturday, opening the season by winning the Bernie Miller Dual-Meet Tournament at Rye. The Indians went 5-0.
“We want to redeem ourselves for last year, pick it up and show that we are going to be sectional contenders this year,” Smith said.
Smith, along with Alec Beresin, Alex Lambiotte, Josh Bauer, Billy Gossett and Louis Talia, all went 5-0 against Hackley, Horace Greeley, Rye, Beacon and Westlake.
Smith said the team started preparing for this season when the 2011-12 season ended, first with wrestling camps and attending John Degl’s Iowa Style Wrestling School and the Max Askren Wrestling Academy. “We also had open mats twice a week, beginning in the summer,” said Smith, one of nine seniors on the team.
Smith is joined by classmates Harrison Monico, Giancarlo Geniso, Ben Jadow, Sam Gordon, Lambiotte, Talia, Gossett and Bauer. This year's seniors became leaders last year, assisting John Jay’s only two seniors.
Smith and his classmates have continued their leadership, and it has resulted in a heightened work ethic. “We are wrestling harder live,” Smith said. “It’s always good when you see blood when you are wrestling live.”
Smith said the seniors have been working with the younger wrestlers, whether pushing them in sprints or wrestling with them live. As a result, the younger wrestlers came into the Bernie Miller tournament prepared.
“They all have good tenacity," Smith said. "They are wrestling hard, and they are leaving it all on the mat.”
John Jay coach Bill Swertfager came away impressed with his team’s opening performance.
“I wasn’t sure where we were at with our training, but I got an idea now,” Swertfager said. “All the kids looked fresh, relaxed and confident. Our conditioning seemed where I expected it to be, and our technique looked fairly good for the first competition.”
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