Matt Swanson was not about to let a quarterfinal loss in the New York State High School Wrestling Championship slow him down.
The senior bounced back from an overtime defeat and went on to become just the second Lynbrook wrestler in history to place in the state tournament — earning third overall at the 132-pound weight class at the Times Union Center in Albany on Feb. 24 and 25.
“A lot of people could have very easily given up, but to come back is really amazing,” Lynbrook wrestling coach Richie Renz said. “He just never gave up. He made a decision right then and there that he was gonna come back and come back strong, and that’s what he did. It tells you a lot about the individual. How dedicated and motivated he is.”
Lynbrook sent two wrestlers to the state tournament, Swanson and junior Joe Becker, who Renz said wrestled “really tough” at 106 pounds despite a pair of losses.
Swanson became the first Lynbrook wrestler since Marco Sola in 1982 to place in the states. It capped off a tremendous high school career that saw him become the first Lynbrook wrestler to ever place in the county tournament four straight years. He will wrestle for Binghamton University next year.
“It was fun coaching him and watching him wrestle,” Renz said. “I had a lot of confidence in him every time he stepped on the mat.”
The states were the culmination of a historic year for Lynbrook wrestling, which won the conference championship by going 5-0, qualified 14 wrestlers in the county tournament for the first time since 1985, placed seventh in the county championship and had three wrestlers reach the county semifinals.
Renz, who began as an assistant coach at Lynbrook in 1990, said one of the biggest driving forces of Lynbrook wrestling is the Lynbrook Titans Kiddie Program, which is run by Becker’s father, Hilary. He added that he especially enjoyed coaching this year’s team.
“It was a historic year in terms of what we accomplished,” he said. “This is one of the best working group of kids I’ve had in the almost 30 years I’ve been coaching at Lynbrook.”