Frank Politi refused to let go until he heard the final whistle.
The Seaford senior recorded the match-clinching pin on Saturday, taking down No. 2 Cold Spring Harbor’s Bryce Kipnes at 195 pounds and lifting the top-seeded Vikings to a 38-37 victory in the Nassau County Division II dual meet championship at Clarke High School. The win sends Seaford to the state tournament at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse on Jan. 26.
“I felt him start to go and knew I was close [to the pin], so I kept my feet,” said Politi who won with 1:28 left in the second period. “I squeezed as hard as I could, I heard the slap on the mat and it didn’t feel real.”
Cold Spring Harbor (12-5) did its best to pull away midway through the match, recording four straight victories and taking a 31-26 lead after Gaven Bell pinned Brendan O’Hagan at 170 pounds. Seaford (14-3) responded in kind, however, as Pat Quinn pinned Jon Feinberg in 1:41 at 182 pounds and Politi followed up with his victory.
“[Cold Spring Harbor] came to wrestle and we didn’t get all the matchups we wanted,” Seaford coach Rob Takseraas said. “But I knew at the end, we had two pins there that we could get.”
Although Politi admitted he was nervous stepping onto the mat, he said he didn’t let the moment get too big and seized his opportunity as soon as he saw it.
“I had to stick to the basics,” Politi said. “My shot was there and I went with it. I let the adrenaline take over.”
Now, Seaford is hoping to keep the momentum going heading into states, certain this team will be able to rise to any challenge.
“All year, it’s been a team effort,” Takseraas said. “When one guy makes a mistake, someone else is there to pick them up and that’s big for us.”