Garrett Gibbons wasn’t going to let the moment get to him.
The Massapequa senior knew this was his last chance at a county title and, after coming up short in previous seasons, he was determined to seize his opportunity. Gibbons did just that, holding on for an 8-7 victory over Farmingdale’s Joe Simons in the 152-pound final of the Section VIII Division I championships at LIU Post on Sunday.
The victory was Gibbons first county championship and sends him to the New York State Tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany later this month.
“This is my last ride,” Gibbons said. “That's what I'm preaching. When I got here, I just wanted to let it all out.”
Gibbons fell into an early deficit in the first period of, but said he was never worried. He’d wrestled in the county final as a freshman and credited his past experience for helping him keep a cool head.
“I’ve been on stages like this before,” Gibbons said. “I trusted my ability and went out there wanting to compete.”
Gibbons made his move in the second period, settling into his offense and racking up points to jump out to an 8-4 lead. It was more than enough to give himself some breathing room and confidence, despite a late rally from Simons.
“I had to keep plugging away,” Gibbons said. “I knew when I went down early, it could still change. So, I kept my composure and focused.”
Freeport’s Lee Mauras also booked his ticket to the state tournament with a 13-4 major decision over Massapequa’s Jeremy Scutellaro at 145 pounds.
“I was fired up,” Mauras said. “The last time I wrestled [Scutellaro] I wrestled badly and I knew had to work harder and set the pace.”
Mauras came close to recording a first-period pin and the near-victory only served to fuel him for the rest of the match. He continued to bring pressure in the final two periods, looking for chances to make a move and keeping Scutellaro on his heels.
“He’s been so driven,” Freeport coach Joe Chetti said. “He wants to win and he practiced hard for this. I don’t ever see that kid get tired.”
After their strong showings at counties, Gibbons and Mauras are ready to turn their attention to states, looking for another spotlight and another chance to capture a bit of glory on the mat.
“This means everything,” Mauras said. “I’m ready to keep working hard. It’s as simple as that.”