Kevin Tynes was already experiencing one of the best weekends of his 17-year old life.
The Brooklyn Tech wrestler was freaking out after Friday’s practice, but in a joyous way as Stanford, his dream school, sent him an acceptance letter.
Tynes ended what he termed an excellent weekend by storming back from a three-point deficit in the last period to win 7-6 over Long Branch's Chris Pappayliou and capture the PSAL Holiday Tournament 195-pound title at the first annual Grapple at The Garden held in Madison Square Garden Sunday.
The Brooklyn Tech senior took a different mat approach after being down 4-1 going into the third and final period. Tynes, who had already ignored any pressure wrestling at Madison Square Garden, studied his opponent and made a decision to swing the momentum in his favor.
"I just knew I’m a better wrestler in neutral,” Tynes said. “After the second period he was doing absolutely nothing. Once we got into neutral, he was trying to stall and he knew he was up by three. So I kept letting him up, and took him down."
Tynes did not want to stay on the ground for long and became the aggressor in the first 30 seconds by recording a 2-point takedown to slice his deficit to 4-3. It gave Tynes the confidence to continue his approach and it paid off with a minute to go with his third takedown to take the lead for good at 7-6.
The Engineers senior believed this would be a good year. Tynes came up agonizingly short by coming in second place in five tournaments last year and was a runner-up at the Mayor’s Cup in early January.
Now he’s winning and gaining confidence along the way.
“It’s my first year I’m really winning because I was in five tournaments and I finished in second in all of them,” Tynes said. “I think it’s my mentality. I think I got better and all the people I couldn’t beat are all gone, so it’s all for my taking.”
What also would continue a fine wrestling campaign is if Brooklyn Tech can secure a PSAL championship, and not a runners-up spot to reigning holders Grand Street Campus.
“We’ve always been in the finals, but last year unfortunately Grand Street got the better of us,” Tynes said. “But this year we’re a lot stronger and we know we can take it this year.”
Grapple at The Garden Notes
Two-time Mayor’s Cup champion Matt Roberts couldn’t stop watching Cornell, and Oklahoma State amongst other top college wrestling teams battling it out Sunday afternoon. It was a thrill for the Monsignor Farrell star to step on the same mat as his heroes after taking a hard-fought 8-5 decision over Nathanael Rose of Eagle Academy to capture the 182-pound PSAL Holiday championship.
"To win at Madison Square Garden is a great feeling,” Roberts said. “I’m looking at my college idols, hopefully some of them watched me. Probably not, but winning at Madison Square Garden is amazing.”
Roberts is feeling 100 percent healthy, which was not the case after a torn meniscus injury kept him out for 3-4 weeks last year. He never felt 100 percent, even though hehad enough strength to earn a Mayor’s Cup and CHSAA state title.
Roberts has more to achieve in his senior year, and credits teammates Rich Sisti, Andrew Psomas and his coaches for sharpening up his skills, and getting him back to full health.
"I had knee surgery two weeks into the season. I still won states and my section, but not as good as I wanted it,” Roberts said. “But I’m completely fine and ready to go out and win again.”
Adis Radoncic of Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy shook off his own slow start and regained his confidence to win the 170-pound title over Long Branch’s Nick Pappayliou.
“I got a few good shots at the beginning, but I wasn’t the pushing the pace that I know how,” Radoncic said. "At the end I started getting a second wind and wrestling how I know to wrestle.”
The junior earned a Mayor’s Cup title and first team All-New York City honors by MSG Varsity last season, but honestly admits that making a sluggish beginning could cost him a win.
“I messed up my warmup and I've got to fix that and get ready for college because in college you can’t do that. If you start out slow, and they start out fast I’m done,” Radoncic said.”
Local wrestlers who also earned PSAL Holiday titles included Noah Malamut of Poly Prep (106-pounds), New Utrecht wrestler Saidyoukub Kahramonov (132-pounds) and Tottenville’s Santo Curatolo, who defeated Wingate’s Kenton Greaves via pinfall for the 120-pound championship.