Three years ago Beat the Streets took its first big group to the Middle School State Championships in Binghamton, NY.
On that trip were a couple of 8th-graders named Rich Sisti of the Lions Wrestling Club and Adis Radoncic of Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy. Sisti became NYC's first Middle School State Champ and Radoncic narrowly missed placing in the tournament. On his way home from the tournament, Adis talked about winning a high school state championship.
Adis was certainly not the favorite heading into this tournament, as he was seeded 6th. But there's an old adage that says you still have to wrestle the matches. Undeterred by the draw, Adis cruised through the first day of competition -- pinning his first opponent and then tech-falling the 3rd seed 15-0 in the quarters -- before emerging from his semifinal bout with a tough 1-0 decision over the 2nd seed on Saturday morning.
With that vicotry, Adis became only the fourth PSAL state finalist ever. Last year he watched as Cheick Ndiaye of Brooklyn International dropped the title bout and only an hour before he competed on Saturday, he watched close friend Keanu Thompson fall just short of state gold at 126 lbs. Adis's finals opponent was top-seeded Christian Dietrich of Greene. The two had already wrestled this year, at Eastern States, with Dietrich winning a 13-4 major decision. Despite all of this, Adis entered the match confident that he could come out on top.
The first period was scoreless as each wrestler chose to wrestle tentatively. In the second, Dietrich chose down and Adis did an effective job of navigating several exciting scrambles to remain on top. However, with time winding down, he appeared to relax and was quickly reversed. After a short injury timeout, Adis earned a key escaped to enter the third down 2-1. Adis chose bottom in the final frame and quickly escape to tie the score at two. Midway through the third, Dietrich almost scored on a single leg attempt at the edge of the mat, but Adis was able to scramble out of bounds. On the restart, Dietrich again attacked, this time with a double leg, and Adis was ready. Blocking the shot and executing a textbook go-behind, Adis went up 4-2. Dietrich escaped late in the match but was unable to get by Adis's solid defense, leaving the final score at 4-3. And with that, Adis became the first PSAL state champion.
Shortly after his victory, Adis went to find his friend Rich Sisti, who was preparing to compete for the title at 220 pounds. Sisti entered the finals undefeated on the season, and after some advice from Adis, he went out and earned a takedown only 10 seconds into the match. This was the same strategy Sisti had employed in his semifinal victory over top-seeded Nick Lupi of Huntington - a quick takedown followed by smart, tactical wrestling - and it worked to perfection. Sisti's opponent, Steven Mills of Sachem North, was unable to mount any significant offense throught the bout. Ultimately, Sisti emerged with a 3-2 decision and became Monsignor Farrell's first-ever state champion.
It was a great day for Beat the Streets and New York City Wrestling.