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Grant Cuomo of Brewster Commits to Princeton

By BV, 09/04/17, 9:00AM EDT

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Congratulations to Grant Cuomo of Brewster on his commitment to the admissions process at Princeton University.

The two-time NYS placer, who was a finalist in 2017, projects at either 165 or 174 pounds for the Ivy League school.

Cuomo will add another New York standout to the Tigers, as the 10 of the 29 wrestlers on the current squad are from the Empire State.

That includes state champions Christian Araneo (Ward Melville), Trey Aslanian (Edgemont), Matteo DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson), Kendall Elfstrum (Monroe Woodbury), Jonathan Gomez (Locust Valley) and Kevin Parker (Shenendehowa) as well as All-State/National Prep All-Americans Lenny Merkin (Poly Prep), Mike D'Angelo (Commack) and Conor Melbourne (John Jay Cross River).

For more on Cuomo, from an article originally posted in mid-August, see below.

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON AUGUST 14, 2017


Courtesy of G. Cuomo

After taking second as a freshman at 138 pounds in Section 1, Grant Cuomo of Brewster was off to an outstanding start to his sophomore campaign at 152.  He pinned his opponent in all six of his contested matches in the early part of the season with only one of those bouts making it to the third period. 

But then, in mid December, a significant hip injury struck.

"It was a pretty bad injury," Cuomo said. "Fortunately, I didn't need surgery because in that case I would've been out for six months and that would've ended my season. There still were doubts about whether I would be able to finish the season though." 

He sat out until the last possible moment and then got back on the mat in time for the postseason qualifying events.

"I rested as long as I could," he said. "I probably only had two or three practices before coming back and I didn't have too many matches going into the Divisionals. It wasn't a very good situation, but honestly, I was just thankful that the injury didn't keep me out of the state tournament." 

He was dominant during his return. In his first 10 matches back, he recorded eight pins, a technical fall and a 15-2 major over eventual state placer Jordan Wallace of New Rochelle. 

That led to his first appearance at the NYS championships, where he went 4-2 and took fifth place.

"In the moment, losing matches [in Albany], you're always stepping off the mat, thinking what you could've done differently," he said. "You're thinking, I could've won that match, I could've scored here. I'm always hard on myself that way and honestly I wasn't really happy with myself [at the state tournament]. But looking back, I guess it was pretty good considering the circumstances. I almost didn't get to compete, so I feel like I made the best out of the situation."

He had to deal with that situation again, as about four months after getting hurt, Cuomo sustained the same injury again - on the other hip.

"It was a mirror image of the injury I had before," he said. "I couldn't wrestle at Fargo because of that and it was a big let down. For my junior year, my goals were to stay healthy and to get through the main part of the season to the big tournament that really matters and get that state title. The state title was certainly the biggest thing on my mind." 

As a junior, Cuomo captured 16 of his first 17 bouts, leading up to a showdown with returning state champion Ryan Ferro of Warwick Valley in the finals of the Shoreline Tournament.  New York Wrestling News had the two wrestlers ranked first and second in the state.

Cuomo took a 4-0 lead in the first period, but Ferro responded, and registered the pin in the second. 

With the Eastern States Classic only a week later, Cuomo looked forward to another prestigious event and he excelled at SUNY Sullivan, winning the 160 pound bracket. After a major and a pin in his first two bouts, he outscored his last three opponents by a combined 13-0 tally on the way to first place. 

"I was really excited. I never won a big tournament like that before," he said. "I won plenty of smaller tournaments, but not one like that.  It was definitely a big accomplishment but I was disappointed that I didn't get to wrestle Ferro there again." 

He would get another shot, however. His path at the state championships wasn't easy as he defeated the eventual third, fourth and fifth placers on the way to the title bout against Ferro. The match had a similar feel, with Ferro prevailing, 7-3.

"After our first match, I was like, ok I got this. I was winning 4-0 and he got lucky," Cuomo said. "But the thing is, he’s never out of it. It wasn't lucky - he did the same thing in the state finals. He hit a big move and put me on my back. You can’t underestimate anyone. You can’t let down your guard.  You always have to be aware and always be ready for anything. I took a lot away from that experience." 

Cuomo kept those things in mind as he competed in top offseason events. At FloNationals, the Iowa Style wrestler got his hand raised eight times on the way to fifth place.

"I won my first match, lost in the second round and then won six in a row in the wrestlebacks and then for fifth," he said. "To fight all the way back felt good." 

He then nabbed eighth at the UWW Cadet Nationals in freestyle at 76 kg. He drew top seeded Aaron Brooks in the first round, losing a tight two-point match before winning three straight in the consolations.

Cuomo, who began wrestling in elementary school after his father, who also wrestled, introduced him to the sport, has one more year of scholastic competition before taking the mat at the Division 1 level.

He has big plans for that year at 170 pounds.

"A state title is the biggest thing," he said. "I also want to win Eastern States again."

When he captured the Eastern States in 2016, he was the first Brewster wrestler to do so. His second place finish at the state tournament was the highest in school history and with five more victories, he will break the Brewster wins record.

"I've been trying to do as much as I can that no one has done before at Brewster," he said. "Brewster has never had a state champ. That's definitely something I think about. I’m happy with the success I’ve had and I’m excited to see what happens next year. I’ve always been looking to make my mark.”

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Grant Cuomo wanted to thank a few people who have helped him on the mat, including Brewster coach Tom Looby, Iowa Style coach John Degl and longtime workout partner Matt Grippi of Fox Lane.