Science grapplers are champs—again

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It’s official—Bronx Science is now a wrestling dynasty.

When the Wolverines rolled out their co-ed wrestling team for the first time last year, all they did was go undefeated and win the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) city championship. So what did they do for an encore this year? They simply went undefeated and won a second PSAL championship.

Last week, the Wolverines capped another stellar season when they dispatched of Curtis High School of Staten Island, 53-22, at Science to capture the PSAL crown for a second straight season and retain their record of perfection. Twenty-five matches in the past two seasons, all ending in Bronx Science victories.

A dynasty indeed.

“Yes, second year in a row. It’s so exciting,” said senior Unwanaabasi Abasiurua, who won her match in the girls’ 139-pound division. “But it was a little bittersweet. This was the last time we are going to be wrestling as a girls and guys team. This is the last time we’re all going to be here together, so it was a little bittersweet. These people are basically my family after three years of working with most of them. So it’s a little sad, especially because it’s my last year and I won’t see them as often next year.”

Bronx Science had just competed against Curtis on Jan. 17 and beat the Warriors, 54-33, in that match. The score wasn’t much different in the championship match as the Wolverines rolled to their impressive victory to secure their second PSAL crown in as many years.

“That was the last match of my life probably, so it was great to go out with a win,” said Julius Yudelson, another of the only six seniors on Science’s 48-person roster. “I’m super excited to win it and win the championship.”

Yudelson, who won the final match of the day in the 165 boys division, then pointed to a vacant spot in the Bronx Science gym wall and said, “Another banner is going to go right there. That’s super cool. It feels really good.”

That empty space on the wall just happens to sit beneath the banner honoring last year’s wrestling champions.

For Abasiurua, earning back-to-back championships made all the work and sacrifice of the past two seasons all worth it.

“They were great. They were well spent,” Abasiurua said. “Sometimes there were times when I’d say, ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’ But in the end the outcome was what I wanted and it was a lot of fun getting here and meeting all these people and falling in love with the sport. It was all worth it.”

Yudelson, who is headed to Duke University in the fall, said the departing seniors are leaving the program in good hands and he doesn’t expect anything less than perfection again for Science next year.

“This was such accomplishment and I’m going to come back next year and years after to see them,” Yudelson said. “And I want more championships.”

Head coach Chris Smith had nothing but praise for his team, not just because of the second title, but for how his team went about earning it on a daily basis.

“The kids are great, they really are. They work hard,” Smith said. “They’re conscientious to learn [wrestling] technique. They are a pleasure. They really are.”

So will it be disheartening to see Abasiurua, Yudelson and the rest of the seniors depart the program they helped build into a dynasty? Yes and no, according to Smith.

“It certainly is and I’ll miss Unwana and Julius but there are always other people coming up like Samee [Buccellato] and Ryan [Gilfillan],” Smith said. “This team is mostly sophomores and juniors so we’ll be all right.”

Smith also had one final bit of praise but it was for someone not even on his roster.

“This sport takes a lot of time and a lot of effort,” Smith said. “It takes you away from your family a lot. My wife is a saint. Here it is, Valentine’s Day, and I’m here. It’s a lot of time and a huge commitment but it was worth it.”

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