Kyle Mosher left no doubt in his last chance to fulfill a long quest of capturing a New York State wrestling championship.
The South Side senior finished his six-year high school career last weekend with a dominating run in the New York State Division I Championships capped by an 8-0 win against top-seeded Cooper Kropman of Penfield in the 160-pound finals on Saturday evening.
Mosher, who made his first varsity appearance as a seventh grader, did not surrender a point in the entire two-day tournament at Albany’s Times Union Center and arrived back in Rockville Centre as the first South Side state wrestling champion since Pete Sleeper in 1966.
“It means everything going up there and performing to the best of my ability and going out on a high note,” said Mosher, who concluded his senior campaign with a 45-1 record. “To be at the top of the podium means the world.”
Mosher’s dominating championship journey began last Friday with two pins against Centereach’s Jett Tancsik and Quincy Downes of Fox Lane. He then started Saturday with a 15-0 semifinal victory over third-seeded Adam Daghestani of Grand Island to reach the state finals stage for the first time after falling just short in four previous Albany trips.
“I tried to make sure I went to bed extra early Friday so I could be extra focused for Saturday,” said Mosher, who has competed in club programs Vougar’s, Ascend and LAW Wrestling Academy during his high school career. “I knew if I was able to block out all the distractions I could do my best.”
The championship path was forged by years of dedication starting when he competed as a youth with the Long Beach Gladiators and Team Dynamic wresting clubs. Mosher credits South Side head coach Mike Robinson and assistants Connor Horl, Felix Perez and Mike Davey along with Athletic Director Carol Roseto for supporting him in striving to reach new heights on the mats.
Capturing South Side’s first state wrestling title in 53 years also took hours of strength and conditioning training outside of South Side’s building with Greg Byers of Sportset Health & Fitness Club in Rockville Centre playing an integral role, according to Mosher. He added that Jamie Franco, owner of LAW Wresting Academy and a Hofstra University assistant coach, was also a major mentor the last few years.
“I couldn’t have done it without his support,” he said of Franco, a former three-time NCAA Championship qualifier at Hofstra who was in Albany for Mosher’s crowning moment. “He has been crucial in my success,”
Mosher set the tone for his commanding state championship performance by capturing his third Nassau County title in an 8-0 decision against North Shore’s Stephen Grabher on Feb. 10 at LIU Post. He will soon compete on the collegiate level at Columbia University, about 25 miles from the Rockville Centre community he made history in.
“I told him it was his turn to be a state champion,” said Robinson, who took over the South Side wrestling program in 2010. “It’s a great ending to a great career.”