Dunia Sibomana-Rodriguez of Long Beach (left) wrestles Luke Satriano of Valley...

Dunia Sibomana-Rodriguez of Long Beach (left) wrestles Luke Satriano of Valley Central in the 110lb division Iduring the semifinal match at the 2023 NYSPHSAA wrestling championships Saturday in Albany. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

ALBANY — The quest for a second straight state wrestling title for Long Beach freshman Dunia Sibomana-Rodriguez came crashing down in one lateral drop.

Sophomore Luke Satriano of Valley Central used the well-timed throw for a two-point takedown with 27 seconds left in the third period to beat Sibomana-Rodriguez, 2-1, in the semifinal round of the 110-pound weight class at the New York State Division I championships before a crowd of more than 5,200 in the MVP Arena.

    “I needed to hit a big move as time was running out,” Satriano said. “I caught him a little off balance and went for the takedown. The timing for the move was everything.”

    Satriano tossed Sibomana-Rodriguez outside the mat circle but kept his lower body inside the circle to complete the winning move. The wrestlers moved back to the center of the mat where Satriano needed to control Sibomana-Rodriguez for the final 27 seconds to secure the win. The wrestlers scrambled for most of the final ticks of the clock before time ran out on Sibomana-Rodriguez.

    “It was the most intense match in my 27 years of coaching,” said Valley Central coach Bob Leonard. “It was a great match between two excellent wrestlers. And the sportsmanship afterward was unbelievable.”

   Sibomana-Rodriguez and Satriano, who have become friends, embraced after the postmatch handshake.

   “I’m disappointed,” Sibomana-Rodriguez said. “It was such a tough match. I was going for the reversal at the end and I almost had it. He’s very good.”

    Sibomana-Rodriguez huddled with his family before getting ready for his consolation bout.

    Satriano was matched against Midwood sophomore Evin Gursoy for the 110-pound crown later Saturday night. Satriano was asked about the emotion of the bout with Sibomana-Rodriguez and the attention given to his opponents’ life story.

   “I had to stay focused on me and not let all of that attention get in the way,” Satriano said. “I have so much respect for him. And I needed to be a top of my game to beat him.”

   Long Beach head coach Ray Adams said there wasn’t much consoling Sibomana-Rodriguez.

   “He’s obviously disappointed but he’s moving forward,” Adams said. “The goal for this year changes to come back and finish third in the state. His story is far from over – he’s only a freshman.”

   Sibomana-Rodriguez and his father Miguel Rodriguez were sitting together shortly after the loss.

   “Life is a journey and will have its ups and downs,” said his father and coach, Miguel Rodriguez. “Dunia knows all about life’s ups and downs and he’ll rebound from this. He lost to a great wrestler from a wonderful family. We are very proud of Dunia and all that he has accomplished. And there were no losers here – only winners.”

Sibomana-Rodriguez bounced back and defeated two juniors to finish in third place. He pasted Austin Zimmerman of St. Joseph Collegiate, 9-0, to earn a spot in the third-place match. In that match he scored an 8-4 win in what resembled a brawl, over junior Ralph Keeney of Ballston Spa.

Reflecting on his third-place finish, Sibomana-Rodriguez said, "It was important for me to get my mindset straight and come back and win. I wanted to set the tone for the next time I’m here. And I learned that everyone is beatable.”

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