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Eastport's Zach Redding turned a low point into a stellar senior season

Zach Redding of Eastport-South Manor celebrates the win

Zach Redding of Eastport-South Manor celebrates the win after wrestling Jayden Scott of Rush Henrietta in the 132-pound in the Division I final at the state wrestling championships on Saturday Feb. 29, 2020. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Zach Redding knows the extreme highs and lows of high school wrestling.

He’s experienced both.

Eastport-South Manor’s two-time state champion won his titles as a sophomore in 2018 and as a senior in 2020. In between those glorious crowns was a third-place finish in 2019 — in a junior year that ended in bitter disappointment but with a valuable life lesson that nothing is guaranteed.

And perhaps that low point in Redding’s career ultimately drove him harder to come back in the state tournament as a senior.

Redding upended sophomore Jayden Scott of Rush-Henrietta, 4-2, to capture the 132-pound weight class at the state Division I tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany.

"He will always be measured by the character he had in his junior year when he lost unexpectedly in the tournament and found the inner fortitude to come and back and finish third,” his father Gary Redding said. “He picked himself up after a disappointing loss and came back to third. I’m very proud of that. And then he motivated himself and worked his butt off to come back to the state tournament and win it again. The emotion of it all was overwhelming."

Redding’s second state crown earned him Newsday’s Wrestler of the Year. The three-time state place-winner had a 52-0 record and finished with a career mark of 251-24. Redding will attend Iowa State in the fall.

"Zach was so dedicated to the sport and maximizing his skill set,” Eastport-South Manor coach Nick Garone said. “Not a day went by that he wasn’t trying to improve himself. And that is the true mark of a champion — to never be satisfied and always look to improve. It seems like he’s been in the room with us forever — we’re going to miss him.”

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