Photo by BV
BY MATT DIANO, gothamcitywrestling.com (GCW)
JAKE DEMMON DEC. ADIS RADONCIC, 4-1... To many, this was just one of the countless results that occurred at the 2012 NYSPHSAA Small School State Tournament. To most, the outcome likely came and went without much notice.
However, to current Poly Prep senior Adis Radoncic, this one match became a defining moment in his scholastic wrestling career. Calling it a turning point, even two years later, the leader of the Blue Devil wrestling room vividly recalls the disappointment he felt when this loss denied him of All-State honors.
In the arena later that day to witness Brooklyn International lightweight superstar Cheick Ndiaye become the first wrestler in PSAL history to compete for state gold [he was defeated in the title bout], as Radoncic put it, “I was tired of being left behind.”
No one will ever leave the boy from the Bronx behind again as Thursday night at approximately 11:30 p.m., the #8 overall senior prospect from the Evil Empire announced on Facebook that he had given a verbal commitment to continue his education and athletic pursuits under the guidance of head coach C.D. Mock at the University of North Carolina.
In making this big decision, Radoncic became the second GCW student-athlete this offseason to formally take his talents to the NCAA Division I level. Exactly one month earlier, Eagle Academy’s All-Everything, Nathanael Rose, committed to the University of Buffalo. The parallels that exist between these two do not end here.
A three-time City Champion for Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, the future Tar Heel’s progressions on the mat were evident with each subsequent trip he made to the Times Union Center for the Big Dance.
As a freshman, he would take his lumps at the DII tournament, going winless (0-2) with an 11-4 loss in the first round to eventual bronze medalist, Wesley Blanding (Chittenango; Section III), followed by a defeat via first period fall to Suffolk County’s Jeff Purdy (Bayport-Blue Point).
As referenced above, a year later, he would find himself on the cusp of greatness, only to be cut down at the 11th hour when he fell in the blood round to Demmon. To some, a loss like that could create a never-ending tailspin that plagues one’s career moving forward. For Radoncic, the opposite would be true as the heartbreak, frustration, and pain would fuel an unquenchable fire in his belly. From that moment forward, his entire focus was centered on not only stepping on the podium, but ascending to that top step. In a world where many are content with being given respect, this young man sought to be revered. His single objective was simple; he was going to make it impossible to ever forget his name by doing what no one before him ever could; he was taking home that state crown and making himself a pioneer! He was going to make himself into a modern day Johann Gutenberg in a singlet and wrestling shoes.
Kicking off his junior campaign with a 16-match winning streak, Radoncic would head into the 2013 Eastern States Classic undefeated and looking to solidify his position among the state elite. After advancing to the quarterfinal round, he would be dealt his first two setbacks of the season, losing a 13-4 major decision to Christian Dietrich (formerly of Section IV Greene; now attending Wyoming Seminary and ranked in the top-5 in the country). In his only consolation bout, Radoncic would be pinned in just over half a minute by Queensbury’s Frank Nassivera. These would be the lone losses suffered by the Gotham stud, as he would rebound by winning his last 11 matches straight.
Seeded a very humbling 11th at the 2013 DII State Tournament despite having come so close to the podium the previous season, there would be no fooling around; February 22nd-23rd was about making a statement and nothing would stand in his way.
For the remainder of this story, see Matt Diano's article on gothamcitywrestling.com.