by: Ben Berman, Amature Wrestling Columnist

Nick Annino, a freshman at Williston Northampton, made a committment this summer to become the best; and at his opening duel meet at the Pomfret school his work paid off. Annino has been a varsity starter since he tried out for the team in seventh grade. He wrestled 119 and did not make an impression with a record of 2 - 14. He then as an eighth grader started at the 125 lb. weight class and made a vast improvement going 14-2 in the dual meet season. He finished 5th at the WNEISWA championships at Taft.

This summer Nick attended three wrestling camps, and a two day clinic at Penn State. He was taught under legends Greg Strobel, Pat Santoro, and Joel Sharrat; while having the opportunity to grapple with numerous all americans from Lehigh, Lock Haven and Penn State. He also took the gold at the Middle Atlantic Classic defeating Adam Chenette in the finals 19 - 3.

Annino came into this season as a kid, only in ninth grade, and once again bursted through his fellow wrestlers to be the starter at 135 lbs. His opening duel was against Marshal Cox, defending New England Champion. This was not their first meeting. Annino had wrestled Cox in the first round of the New England tourney in 1997, with Cox defeating him 14 - 3. This year it was a different story. Annino started the match off with the first takedown but gave up an early reversal. Cox rode Annino out for the remainder of the period. In the second Cox chose bottom after a differal by Annino. In the first minute the only action was a P.D. call against Annino for a potential shoulder injury on a power half. Cox quickly switched Annino to put himself up by 2 going into the third. Annino chose the bottom position and was ridden for the fist 1:30. With 30 seconds on the clock Annino hit a mean switch to tie it up. It went to O.T. where Annino hit a slide by from the neutral position to secure the 6 - 4 victory over Marshal Cox.

Annino plans on attending the Cadet National FS touney in July, and is described by D1 167 pounder (currently ranked 8th in the country) as "a threat to anyone at any level of competition."

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