Courtesy of A. Cutrie
Two years ago, Phoenix standout William Hilliard transferred to Wyoming Seminary for his senior year of high school. He earned All-American status at the National Preps and is now at Old Dominion where he started for the Monarchs as a true freshman.
Now, another Section 3 wrestler is taking a similar path as 2017 state qualifier Antonio Cutrie of Chittenango announced that he will be attending “Sem” next year for 12th grade.
“[Hilliard] had a lot of success and got a lot better when he went to Sem for his senior year,” Cutrie said. “I went down to visit and met a lot of other people who had success too. I felt that every coach, counselor and teacher I met there does what’s best for the student athlete and I want to surround myself with that every day.”
Cutrie, who went 38-3 for Chittenango as a junior and came within one match of placing at 220 pounds at the state tournament, said he plans to compete at 285 for the Blue Knights.
“I’m going up to heavyweight because I’d like to get ready to wrestle in college and I’ll be a heavyweight in college, not a 197,” he said.
Cutrie feels that the environment at Sem is the right one to prepare him for the next level.
“I’m really excited about their practices and the coaches and partners in the room,” he said. “I was really happy to have my friend [170 pound state placer Connor Fredericks] to drill with every day at Chittenango. He was great. It will be nice to have some heavier kids to wrestle with in the room next year. After looking at this past season, I just want to take the biggest step forward that I can. I wasn’t happy with the outcome of last season.”
Cutrie won his first 36 matches during the 2016-17 campaign, 32 of them by bonus points. His first defeat was to Luke Rogers in the Section 3 championship bout, however, he received a wildcard bid to the state tournament.
Cutrie was matched up against sixth seeded Tarek Ibrahim of Clarke in round one.
“I’ve been to a lot of big events, but the first time at states was petrifying actually,” he said. “Being down there in the arena was insane.”
Nevertheless, Cutrie earned a 6-3 decision in his opener. Next up was returning state placer Hammond Raes of Midlakes, the eventual silver medalist. The two were tied after regulation, and in overtime, Raes was awarded a fleeing point to come away with a 5-4 victory.
Cutrie rebounded in the wrestlebacks with a pin in just 37 seconds. He recorded more than 20 falls during the season.
“I was happy about coming back with a pin,” he said. “Then I was winning in the blood round and I got stuck. I feel like I kinda just took things for granted - thought it would be a cake walk. I didn’t prepare like I should’ve. That won’t happen again. Every day I’ll have the opportunity to get as good as I possibly can.”
Cutrie returned to the mat right away, competing in a number of spring events.
“I was really excited to get back to work,” he said. “I enjoy competing. I went to as many tournaments as I could and had a lot of fun.”
At the New York State Freestyle and Greco Roman championships, he took second (Greco) and third (Freestyle) while wrestling in those styles for the first time in years. This week, he'll cross the border for the Canada Cup.
Then, it’s time to get ready for Wyoming Seminary. Cutrie said he’ll be training and looking to put on some weight for his transition to 285.
“This is the best move for me,” Cutrie said. “I really want to thank my parents and [Wyoming Seminary] Coach [Scott] Green for giving me the opportunity to go to Sem this year. I’m really excited about it.”