Under the direction of first-year head coach Matt Beatty, the Rye wrestling team finished the regular season 14-7 and sent 17 athletes to the Divisional tournament February 6. Two of those wrestlers – senior co-captain Donovan McSorley and junior Joe Simolacaj – advanced to the Section tourney February 12 at Lincoln High School in Yonkers.
McSorley, 30-4 in the 145-pound weight class this year, grappled his way to the Division finals before losing via pinfall to the top-seeded wrestler. Simolacaj, in just his second year on the mats, lost in the semifinals, but rebounded to win his next two matches. Beatty believes Simolacaj’s conditioning and sheer determination propelled him to victory in an especially grueling final match.
Simolacaj, 22-12 so far this year, will be the No. 7 seed in the 171-pound class. McSorley is seeded second in his respective class.
“He’s had a great year and he’s worked very hard and provided great leadership for the team,” Beatty said of McSorley. “I’m so glad he’s matured to the point that he has.
Rye nearly qualified three additional Garnets for Sectionals, but Brian Gardner, George Knudsvig, and Jacob Stone came up painstakingly short. Beatty was nevertheless proud of his charges.
— Melanie Cane