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Goldbacks in the News! Tyler Serafini Breaks School Record, Prepares for Division Tournament
Tyler Serafini’s summer is going to be radically different than most 2019 high school graduates as they prepare for college.
Serafini, Newburgh Free Academy’s all-time wrestling wins leader, is leaving on July 2 for Army National Guard basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C. After 10 weeks of physical and combat exercises, Serafini will transition to advanced individual training.
“It’s going to be a big change, but I know I’ll get through it,” said Serafini, the son of a New York state trooper. “I always wanted to be in some sort of military background just to have that foundation.”
Serafini’s college future is on hold. He’ll start classes at Kutztown University in January 2020. He plans to redshirt for the school’s NCAA Division II wrestling team in the 2019-20 season. Serafini’s tuition at Kutztown will be paid for by the National Guard.
“I went to a wrestling camp (at Kutztown) over the summer,” Serafini said. “The coach made arrangements for me to come down. I stayed there for a day or two and I really liked it. I checked out Cortland and places like that. I just feel that Kutztown is more homey for me. I have family from Pennsylvania, so it’s nice.”
Serafini recently passed Taylor Laraia with his school-record 186th win in his first match at the Newburgh Duals. He committed to wrestling as his only sport around seventh grade because wrestling camps and practices were taking up too much time for him to play baseball and football. Serafini started off his varsity career as a 99-pound seventh-grader. He recorded 15 wins, which is still the Newburgh high mark for seventh-graders.
“It’s always been a goal,” said Serafini, who currently ranks ninth in Section 9 with 191 wins. “That was the whole point of bringing me up in seventh grade, to give it a shot and see if we can get there. As I wrestled more and more, the (career wins) goal became more realistic.
“Honestly, I was in shock for a little bit (upon breaking the record) and when I started to think about it more, I was excited. I realized how much time and effort I put in to get there.”
Serafini was elected captain his freshman year for his leadership and work ethic. He has held the position for four seasons. Serafini’s dedication to the sport has never wavered. He’s become a role model for Newburgh’s younger wrestlers.
“My son (Christopher) is a sixth-grader,” NFA coach Chris Leggett said. “I treasure that my son was able to be around (Serafini) and look up to him. My son will be at practice every now and again and he sees how he works. I told my son to take notice of that. When practice is over, he’s still in there doing sprints or he’s got a 45-pound plate workout when practice is over. That was impressionable upon my son.
“He’s a good leader. He’s real vocal when you need him to be. He’s one of the guys when he needs to be one of the guys, also. You can’t ask for a better kid than him.”
Serafini, who is 44-4 this season, has decided to move up from 170 to 182 pounds for the postseason. He won the 152-pound Section 9 Division I title last season and was a finalist at the weight as a sophomore.
As the days get closer to his final Section 9 Division I tournament (starting Friday at Monroe-Woodbury High in Central Valley), Serafini is putting in up to three workouts per day. After high school practice, Serafini lifts before heading to a night session at Hudson Valley Wrestling Academy in Newburgh, run by former Valley Central two-time state champion Ricky Scott.
Serafini’s goal is to place in the state’s top four in two weeks in Albany.
“I just don’t want to walk off the mat regretting anything,” he said. “If something doesn’t go my way, at least I can say I tried my hardest.”
Story by: Sal Interdonato
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