Sean Peacock took third place in New York as a freshman at 96 pounds, but when it came time for the next season, the Midlakes wrestler wasn’t sure what to expect.
“I went up two weight classes [to 113],” he said. “People were surprised I didn’t certify at 108. Going up those two classes, I expected less than the year before – I definitely wanted to place but I didn’t know what would happen.”
But as the season progressed and Peacock continued to pile up victories at his new weight, his goals began to change. In fact, despite enduring his second loss of the campaign at the SuperSectionals to Austin Keough of Warsaw, Peacock shared a prediction with his mother while traveling to the Times Union Center.
“When it came time for the state tournament, I felt more confident in myself,” he said. "I told my mom on the way to Albany for the tournament that I somehow knew I would come away a winner that year.”
He did, in more ways than one. In a loaded bracket full of medalists and champions, such as William Koll, Dillon Stowell and Trey Aslanian, Peacock earned New York State gold.
“Everything just kind of flowed and I had some good matches and ended up winning,” he said. “It was kind of surreal. It was shocking to know that I beat everyone in my bracket and for Division II, I was the #1 guy in the state. It’s something I can’t describe.”
But Peacock said it wasn’t necessarily the highlight of the year.
“I think the biggest accomplishment was winning the [dual] state title as team,” he said. “I grew up with those guys and we’ve been working together for so long – since seven years old. We’ve wrestled year round together, always putting in the time. The team part was very meaningful."
A similar sense of team was one of the reasons Peacock recently decided to continue his academic and athletic pursuits at the University at Buffalo, where he projects to compete at 133 pounds. (Peacock said he also considered Old Dominion and Bucknell).
After traveling to the campus in early September, he knew he wanted to return for an official visit.
“As soon as I met the team and witnessed how things were with them, I knew it was the right fit for me,” he said. “Everyone seemed to mesh together really well and I really liked the coaching staff and the academic support they have in place. Knowing a lot of the New York guys was a factor too.”
Before he gets there, Peacock has things left to do in Section 5 and statewide. Right now, for the three-sport athlete, that includes finishing the cross country season. (He plays lacrosse as well). But no matter how many squads he’s a part of, Peacock always finds significant time for wrestling.
That time has been well spent over the years and has resulted in multiple All-America finishes at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach (including seventh at 120 in 2013) as well as a rewriting of the Midlakes record books. Peacock already is the leading pinner in Screaming Eagles history, with over 100 falls in his career.
The individual state title he captured was the first ever for a Midlakes wrestler. He tried to make it two golds in 2013, earning a spot in the New York championship match for the second straight year against Edgemont's Trey Aslanian. This time, however, the current Princeton grappler came out on top, 4-2.
“Last season wasn’t my best performance,” Peacock said. “Even though I was second last year and third as a freshman, I feel like my freshman year was more successful. I realized that I needed to improve a lot more. It’s definitely a motivator for me now.”
Peacock feels that he has improved this offseason, especially on his feet. He credits his frequent sessions with Wayne’s Bryan Lantry and Webster Schroeder’s Tom Lancie for some of his progress.
“My neutral has gotten a lot better and we’ve been working on a lot of different situations,” he said. “I’ve fine tuned my work on top. I’m more prepared now.”
He’s prepared to take on all comers at 132 pounds, looking for another magical weekend in the state capital.
“That was one of the best weekends of my life,” Peacock said. “Wins or pin records aren’t important. I’m going out to be a state champ, nothing less.”
Sean Peacock wanted to thank his parents, his teammates, Coach Steve Howcroft, Coach LaPaglia, Papa Brooks, and everyone he’s trained with over the years.