The last time Ward Melville wrestler Nick Piccininni lost a match, it was to Chenango Forks' Kyle Kelly about two years ago. Since then, both wrestlers went on to win state titles – Piccininni at 106 pounds, Kelly at 113.
But Piccininni moved up to Kelly's class this year, eventually setting up a showdown between the two state champions at last weekend's state championships. Piccininni emerged the victor with a 14-4 win for his second state title. He described the match as tougher than he thought it was going to be.
"Winning a title the first time is great," he said, "but the second time is awesome because I’m really putting myself on the map."
The Ward Melville sophomore, who is already fielding interest from college coaches, has an 88-match win streak and owns an overall record of 141-3 dating back to seventh grade.
Ward Melville co-coach Bill DeSario said Piccininni is "probably the best kid I've ever coached." He called Piccininni a very dominating type of wrestler.
"He's just a hard worker and a super individual," DeSario said. "He's the total package right now."
DeSario said Piccininni is a role model to his teammates, often giving them tips and working with them outside of practices. And in return, Piccininni said his team is just as supportive of him.
"They keep on giving me positive mental thoughts to keep in my head and wish me luck," Piccininni said.
Which is convenient, because he's got some lofty goals set out for himself.
"Now it’s just to go back each year and repeat what I’ve done these last two years," he said. "Try to go to college and become an NCAA national champ ... but just take it one step at a time."