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WCS wrestler Ryan Black eyes state championship title

WARRENSBURG Just last school-year, student athlete Ryan Black was hospitalized and sidelined with a fractured neck and some wondered whether his athletic career was over. But this year, Ryan is setting new records for Warrensburg High School in wrestling, and hes considered a top contender for the state wrestling championship. As of Monday, Ryan Black has an impressive 32-1 wrestling record this season and despite being inactive last year with his injury, he has set a new school record for career wins as of this week 149 wins out of 187 matches. Saturday, Ryan won his weight class in the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament hosted by Albany High School, the second time ever for a Warrensburg wrestler. In the day-long competition, he beat four wrestlers. In the finals match, he defeated John Paris from Amsterdam High, 17-2. Paris was previously unbeaten this season. Ryans success has required hard work, dedication to the sport and long hours of practice, Warrensburg Varsity Wrestling Coach Mark Trapasso said. Ryans extremely tough mentally and physically, he said. And, he doesnt ever want to give up any points. Ryans father, Peter Black, said Ryans wrestling career has included years of off-season competition in regional and national tournaments. Ryan has won third place in the Empire State Games, was a finalist in the Gene Mills Eastern Nationals, and he won the Sophomore Nationals held in Pittsburgh. Last year, he competed in the National Freestyle Tournament held in Fargo, North Dakota, and was chosen for the New York State team competing in the Oklahoma Duals tournament, Peter Black said. Ryan has a wide base of experience, so he doesnt get rattled too easily, he said. Ryan has a natural ability to counter anybodys moves, plus he has an aggressive offense. This week, Ryan was modest about his achievement, and said there were no secret moves or specialized knowledge that fueled his success. Nothing beats a standard half-nelson, he said. Ryan started in Warrensburgs Pee Wee wrestling program at 6 years old, began attending high school varsity practice as a WCS 4th grader. As an elementary student, he worked out and sparred with the Modified team, and then in only 7th grade, started wrestling on the Varsity squad. That first Varsity season, Ryan tallied a 25-12 record. As an eighth grader, he won the titles of Runner-Up Champion in the Section II and Class D tournaments. In 9th and 10th grade, his winning ways continued. Both years, he won both Class D and Section II championships, and ended up 4th in New York State. In 11th grade, he didnt wrestle after he fractured his neck in a 2006 football game against Whitehall. He and an opposing player crashed helmets in a pileup, leaving Ryan in a neck brace for months. Ryans now shed the pain of being sidelined for a season, and hes focused on his goal of winning a title in the upcoming state championship tournaments, Trapasso said. Weve had slicker, faster and stronger wrestlers, but never have coached anyone mentally tougher than Ryan Black, he said, noting that several colleges across the Northeast are recruiting Ryan. His goal is to be Warrensburgs first state champion, and its attainable.

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