PEARL RIVER, N.Y. – Kevin McDermott found himself facing an early deficit against Washingtonville’s Mark Milisci in the Michael O’Connell 145-pound wrestling final Friday. But the Hendrick Hudson senior did not panic. Instead, McDermott kept his composure and used the four-point hole as a motivating factor to fuel him to victory.
McDermott rebounded and controlled the match from the second period on in a 5-4 win at Pearl River High School. It was McDermott’s second consecutive O’Connell title.
Teammate Mark Grant finished third in the 120-pound weight class, and Jack Wagner placed fourth at 126 pounds.
“I was mad at myself, so I wanted to fight back hard,” said McDermott, receiving congratulations from his teammates. “I knew if I maintained my composure and executed my moves that I would be able to come back on him.”
Milisci led 4-0 after one as a result of a takedown and two back points. McDermott opened the second period on bottom and quickly reversed Milisci. Once McDermott did this, he also put Milisci to his back and held him for five seconds, resulting in three back points.
“Once I had the reversal, I grabbed him and knew I had to get the back points,” McDermott said. “I had to get all three because I was down by four points.”
McDermott rode Milisci out for the remainder of the second period and carried the momentum into the third period. Milisci took bottom to start the third, but McDermott sunk legs and Milisci could not extricate himself.
“Going into the third period once he chose down, I felt confident that I could hold him down because I feel comfortable running legs,” McDermott said.
McDermott said that winning the tournament for the second time felt great.
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