Long Beach’s Dylan Palacio had a big weekend. A very, very big weekend.
On Saturday, the 152-pounder won the Eastern States meet at upstate Sullivan CC, defeating Somers’ Brian Realbuto via 8-5 decision in the final. Realbuto won last year’s state title at 135 and the Junior Freestyle National Championship in July at 145.
“I knew going in that this is what the final would be,” Palacio said. “I had to take it one match at a time, and I found myself where I wanted to be, against a national champion.”
Palacio won his first and second round matches by pin before scoring a 13-1 majority decision over Shoreham’s John Keck in the quarters. In the semis, he beat South Lakes’ Ryan Forrest, 16-7. Forrest placed third in the 2011 VIRGINIA AAA State tournament.
Realbuto scored three pins and a major decision before facing off with Palacio. In a match between two of the state’s best wrestlers, regardless of weight, Palacio prevailed.
“Truthfully, him and I are so high in experience that we’re at a point where very match is a different match,” Palacio said. “We can wrestle 10 times, and 10 different things can happen.”
But when asked about a rematch with Realbuto in next month's state tournament in Albany, Palacio said he is considering a move to 160.
“I’m a senior. I have no reason to cut weight,” Palacio said. “160 pounds is full of big guys, but I feel I can run with the best guys. Cutting weight is one of the low points of the sport, and I don’t feel I have to do that this year.”
When asked whether he had an easy road to the final, Palacio responded: “I knew it would be a hard road. I had the two seed, but that’s deceiving because I had a tough draw. I just upped my game. I knew nobody would beat me or come close to me until the final. I didn’t let up any offensive points until the final.”
In other Eastern States action, Palacio’s teammate, 113-pounder Mark Raghunandan, won his championship match with a 7-6 decision against Somers’ Dylan Realbuto (brother of Brian).
James DeKrone of Glenn lost a 6-2 decision in the 138-pound final against Quinton Murphy of Holley Central (N.Y.)
Hauppauge’s Nick Mauriello fell in the 132-pound final to Shenendehowa’s Nick Kelley, 10-4.