ALBANY, N.Y. -- Jacob Berkowitz wanted to win a second consecutive Section 1 Division I (large school) wrestling championship because of what happened last year.
The Scarsdale senior went 0-2 in the 2011 New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships. This brought Berkowitz to a realization.
“I needed to work harder on every aspect of my wrestling and my technique,” Berkowitz said. “How I wrestled last year at states bothered me a lot. I never wanted to have that feeling again.”
Berkowitz won’t experience that again as he won both of his matches on Friday, earning a berth in the Division I (large school) 182-pound semifinals at the state championships at the Times Union Center.
Wrestling will resume on Saturday at 10 a.m., with the semifinals in both divisions. The championship finals are scheduled for 6 p.m.
Berkowitz became the first Scarsdale wrestler to reach the semifinals since Shintato Higashi finished fourth at 215 pounds in 2003. By making the final four, Berkowitz will be a top-six finisher and earn all-state honors.
Berkowitz began his day with a 4-1 victory over Joesef Carter of Brockport and then decisioned Josh Reed of Webster Schroeder, 5-1. Both wrestlers are from Section 5.
“After I won my first match, it got rid of the butterflies and gave me confidence,” Berkowitz said.
Berkowitz was the aggressor against Reed from the opening whistle, getting in deep on two shot attempts. Even though he didn’t score, Berkowitz forced Reed to open up. When Reed took his first shot, Berkowitz jumped around him for a takedown and a 2-0 lead.
“This feels awesome and it makes me even more hungry to hopefully win it all,” Berkowitz said.
Berkowitz, the fourth seed, will face McZiggy Richards of Wingate (New York City) in a semifinal. The two wrestled in an off-season tournament with Berkowitz winning by decision.