PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Pleasantville High School wrestler Stephen Paternostro is The Pleasantville Daily Voice Athlete of the Month for February.
Paternostro won the section title in the 126-pound weight class when he pinned Putnam Valley’s A.J. Mirabal, who had beaten him earlier in the third-place match in last year’s tournament, in an astonishing 15 seconds. Mirabal was the top seed in this year’s section tournament while Paternostro was the third seed.
Even the junior himself had to take a second to process what he had just done.
“It caught me by surprise. I didn’t think it was going end that fast,” Paternostro said. “I was just jumping up and down. It was exciting because I beat the first seed.”
Head coach Bob Bernarducci was also shocked.
“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Bernarducci said. “You don’t see that too often.”
To make the section title even sweeter, Paternostro beat Nanuet’s Joe Dillon, the second seed and a two-time section champion, in the semifinals. Bernarducci said the junior had all the skills necessary to capture the title.
“Stephen is probably the best athlete on the team. Sometimes he doubts whether he can beat certain people but we’ve really been working on that,” Bernarducci said. “I think going into sections, that was a big part of his success.”
Paternostro then went on to the state tournament but did not win any matches. He did keep his first match close, though, and lost, 14-9.
Paternostro, who started wrestling in seventh-grade, said he wants to return to the state tournament next season, and that his losses in this year’s event have given him the motivation to make it back.
The Student-Athlete of the Month is chosen by the sports reporters and editors at The Daily Voice.