New Yorker Stuns Huge Crowd by Capturing NCAA D1 Wrestling Title

Christian Encarnacion, Reporter

Wrestling has always been such an important part of life. The sport has been in my family for generations and will continue to be carried on. My uncle Chris Weidman was a multiple Nassau county champ, NYS state champ and even a 2-time college All American at Hofstra.

The NCAA wrestling championships, this past March 15-17 in Cleveland, had a huge impact on my life because in the next two years I will hopefully be on that gigantic stage in front of thousands of loud wrestling fans as well as my supportive family.

One of my closest friends won his first NCAA tournament as a true freshman. Yianni Diakomihalis, from Ithaca New York, wrestles for Cornell University. Yianni is an all-around athlete as well as scholar. He came in his freshman year at a tough weight class with defending national champions. Yianni gradually went through the year knocking off high seeds. His biggest “upset” was beating defending All American and national champion Bryce Meredith of Wyoming. It was a back-and-forth match. Yianni had upset the No.-1 college wrestler in the country at his weight. As I watched on my computer screen fans went wild and Yianni, a humble and respectful young man, simply gave his coaches a hug and walked off the mat smiling.

A few weeks later Yianni had another big match against a tough wrestler Jaydin Eierman of Missouri. Again this match was back and forth but Yianni fell short. Yianni humbly walked off the matt shook hands and carried on with his life. At NCAA championships Yianni was the No.-3 seed at 141 pounds. We were able to see this rematch versus Eierman in the semifinals as Yianni came out on top this time winning 4-2.

But more importantly Yianni has taught me a life lesson to be humble, respect others no matter what the outcome is and always walk with your head up no matter what the outcome is. I will always look up to Yianni and the great character he is. His huge win has inspired me to always work hard and push myself to all limits.