Since he was 12 years old, Peter Pappas has worked with former Edinboro national champion Gregor Gillespie.
Now, Pappas is hoping to make his mark at the same college as he committed to the Fighting Scots earlier this week after also considering Clarion and Hofstra.
“I knew a lot about Edinboro from [Gillespie] and when I went on my official visit, I felt really comfortable there,” Pappas said. “I liked the guys on the team and it just felt like home.”
The Nassau County star said he’ll likely begin at 149 pounds for Edinboro before moving up to 157.
While he'll be a college middleweight, Pappas first made his mark in New York as an eighth grader at 99 pounds, taking third at the Section 8 tournament after a dominant regular season. He followed up with stellar freshman and sophomore seasons which saw him finish as the New York State runner up at 106 and 120 pounds, both times losing to Yianni Diakomihalis in the state finals.
Pappas expected to return to the championship match at the Times Union Center as a junior, however, a significant shoulder injury at the Section 8 tournament made that road more challenging.
“My dad didn't want me to wrestle at states, but I didn’t want to have any regrets,” he said. “It was really tough; it took a toll on me. I was really, really upset that I didn’t get where I wanted. There are no excuses when you step on the mat.”
A few months later, he was able to return to the sport.
“At the end of June, I started slowly getting into the mix of things,” he said. “After that, I was ready to go and ever since, I feel great.”
He’s been impressive in recent preseason events, beating several highly regarded opponents on his way to second place at the Journeymen Classic at 145 pounds and eighth at the Super 32 Challenge at the same weight.
“I felt great at both tournaments,” he said. “I beat some really good kids and I’m proud that I placed at Super 32 two years in a row, but I honestly felt that I could’ve placed a lot higher at Super 32 this year.”
He’ll have a chance to place high again in his senior campaign, looking to represent his school again on the big stage.
“Plainview isn’t known for great sports, but I have a lot of school pride,” he said. “I go to all the games. Everyone knows how important wrestling is to me. I love being part of the Hawks Nest.”
He’d also love to bring a state title back home and will look to do so in a 152 pound class that will be loaded with past medalists.
“It's gonna be a good weight class,” Pappas said. “We’ll battle it out at states and I think it’ll be fun. I’m looking to work hard, win Eastern States, win counties and win states. That’s the plan.”
Before heading to Edinboro, the senior’s longtime coach Gregor Gillespie won a state title. We’ll see if Pappas will follow that same path.
When asked about coaches and workout partners who have been a significant part of his journey, Peter Pappas had many people to mention. “Gregor Gillespie has been a big part of my life for a long time. Vougar [Oroudjov] has been training me even longer. [Vougar’s Honors Wrestling] VHW is one of the best wrestling clubs in the country - the best guys are there. I want to thank Vito Arujau, Yianni Diakomihalis and Zach Ancewicz, who will be going to Edinboro with me, all my partners at VHW, Mac Maldarelli and Clarion assistant coach Joe DeAngelo, who has been training me for a really long time. Also, Bellmore Kickboxing and MMA and Dr. Mike Camp, who was really important, getting my shoulder back healthy and still working with me today." Pappas is coached by Mike Doria at Plainview-Old Bethpage.