PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – During Jeremy Onuma’s two-year wrestling layoff, the Pleasantville High School senior had to repeatedly contend with friend and wrestler Pete Salzarulo asking him to return.
“Pete has been bugging me since sophomore year to come back and wrestle,” said Onuma, with a laugh. Onuma returned to the Pleasantville High wrestling room and has given the team an additional veteran leader.
After wrestling his freshman year, Onuma was sidelined due to two concussions he suffered during the soccer season. Last year, Onuma did not wrestle to focus on his studies.
“Even though I wrestled JV my freshman year and we also won the section, I missed it,” said Onuma, during a break in the Woodlands Dual-Meet tournament Saturday. “I liked the one-on-one aspect of it’s all up to you to make it happen.”
When Onuma told Salzarulo he was returning to wrestling, his friend since eighth-grade was quite happy.
“He loved it and I also think he needed another sparring partner because his partner from last year graduated,” Onuma said.
Pleasantville coach Bob Bernarducci was also happy to see Onuma back in the room.
“I thought when Jeremy was a freshman he showed a lot of potential,” Bernarducci said. “It’s great to have him back because he is a very focused kid, works hard in the room and a good role model for the younger kids.
“Jeremy is very coachable and listens. Even though he hasn’t wrestled in two years, Jeremy has good mat sense and puts himself in good position. The last week, things are starting to click for him.”
Onuma went 3-0 through Pleasantville’s first three matches Saturday. He said those were his first three wins of the season.
Onuma said his return to wrestling has been aided by Salzarulo, who has become like a coach in the room to him.
“Pete is always showing me or telling me something new,” Onuma said. “He’s been working me hard, but he is helping me to get more polished. He’s been great.”