Jacori Teemer couldn’t catch his breath. The Long Beach junior was about to wrestle for the 132-pound state championship at the Times Union Center in Albany.
“I had this anxiety and nervousness that I never get,” Teemer said. “I knew what was at stake and I knew I had a very tough opponent. Coach [Ray] Adams calmed me down.”
Teemer became Nassau’s first four-time state champion when he beat Mike Venosa of Victor, 1-0, before a crowd of more than 6,000. He used a technically perfect second period in which he controlled Venosa from the top position for the full two minutes and then used a third-period escape for the win.
“Jacori told me he was nervous and I said it’s normal and you can’t let it consume you,” Adams said. “I told him not to allow the moment to overcome him and that I believed he was going to be a four-time state champion.”
For his accomplishments, Teemer was named Newsday’s Athlete of the Week. He improved his record to 29-1 this season and 170-5 overall. His only loss in the past two years came up two weight classes, at 145 pounds, in January.
Teemer, who is also a four-time Nassau champion, also won the Cadet National title at 132 pounds in Fargo, North Dakota, during the summer. He scored four points in the final six seconds to come from behind and edge Mason Phillips, the Washington State champion. The win made him the first freestyle national champion in Long Beach history.
“He’s a special kind of athlete and had a fantastic summer,” Adams said. “And then he really bounced back this high school season after suffering an injury at the Grapple at the Garden in December. He partially tore his lateral collateral ligament in his right knee in that first tournament and was out for over a month.”
Teemer, the first eighth grader from Long Island to ever win the state wrestling tournament, could become the first local to win five state championships.
“Oh, man I don’t even want to think about the fifth one,” he laughed. “I thought this was hard this year. The pressure is going to be even greater next year.”
While Teemer sets his sights on an unprecedented fifth state title, he’ll make official college visits to wrestle for North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Arizona State and Hofstra.
“He’s excited about his visits and the future,” Adams said. “He’s grown as a person so much since he started in the eighth grade. His biggest strides have come in the areas of maturity and growth as a person. He’s respectful of everyone and handled his tremendous success very well.”