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Sleepy Hollow News

Five Champion Wrestlers Put Sleepy Hollow on the Map

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February 15, 2024

By Tom Pedulla–

Silas Corveddu had done well merely to reach the Section 1 Division 2 championships on Feb. 10 at the Westchester County Center. The freshman had been struck by a car in mid-January, leaving him with a severely bruised knee and keeping him from a full practice until two days before the competition he yearned to win for so long.

But now he needed to find something more as seconds ticked down in his 124-pound title match against Nanuet sophomore John Parisi, a returning sectional champion. They were tied 1-1. Then Corveddu heard the chants.

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“The fan base is what really pushed me through the last match,” Corveddu said. “I could hear our fan base echoing in my head gear. That’s what really pushed me.”

He spotted an opportunity and executed a perfect two-point takedown in the final second in a day full of magical moments for the Horsemen. Corveddu joined eighth-grader Kelvin Jimenez (101 pounds), eighth-grader Dorian Hidalgo (108), freshman Rafael Rodriguez (145) and heavyweight eighth-grader  Thomas Kellas (215) in providing the squad with five – count em, five – Section 1 Division 2 championships.

It was another in a list of special nights for Brian Tompkins, in his 49th year as coach. “It’s right up there with the kids who won state championships,” the veteran coach said. “It’s way up there.”

The five newly-crowned champions had all started competing when they were five or six years old, never sure of where it would take them. “It felt like all the hard work, finally it paid off,” said Hidalgo, who had competed at 101 pounds before this. He made the challenging move up to 108, even though it meant spotting some opponents as many as five pounds. He nonetheless joined Jimenez in pinning his way to the crown.

For each of the Horsemen, the moment was bigger than themselves. Jimenez’s father, Carlos, was a state champion. His uncle, the late Juan Carlos Garcia, was a two-time titlist. Jimenez ran to the stands to celebrate with his father soon after the referee held his arm aloft in triumph. “I just jumped on top of him,” he said. “It touched my heart because I’ve never seen him this happy.”

They are all so good and so young. They pushed each other to make their dreams come true. “They’re a good, hard-working group of kids who know what they want and they work well together toward it,” said Connor Tompkins, who joins his brother, Ryan, in assisting his father. “They do a good job of motivating each other during matches but also in the wrestling room.”

Five sectional champions on one team? Do not look for that to happen often. “It’s usually one kid here and one kid there,” Connor said. “To have the success they’re having at such a young age is definitely kind of unheard of. It’s really a testament to the work they put in for the majority of their lives and the sacrifices their families made.”

It opens a world of possibilities for all five. “These kids, they know now what they could be in years to come,” said Brian Tompkins. “That’s the biggest takeaway, that these kids understand they really can be special.”

Rodriguez is sure to draw on his title match with Edgemont’s Joey Saito. He had to find a way to deal with a resourceful, scrappy opponent. He did, edging Saito 5-3. “I honestly believe I can win state titles for our school,” said Rodriguez. “And I can probably wrestle in college, too, and make it very far.”

No one has a higher ceiling than Kellas, a rare combination of size and talent as an eighth-grader. “I think my future is very bright,” he said. “If I keep training the way I’ve been training, there is no limit to what I could be in the future.”

If the young Horsemen continue to stay focused and work as hard as they have been in pursuing their dreams, there is every reason to believe that five sectional titles is only the beginning.

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