Yianni Diakomihalis, a two-time cadet freestyle world champion and American Family Insurance ALL-USA selection, hoped to return to high school wrestling after he suffered an elbow injury last month, even though his plans for college have been set for some time.
The Hilton (N.Y.) senior just found out he is unable to work toward a rare fifth state championship, however, after he was told during a medical check-up for his right elbow last week that he would need to undergo surgery on his left elbow.
Diakomihalis has long been a Cornell commit.
“They told me I had a similar situation going on, just not as bad,’’ Diakomihalis said. “I could begin drilling in six weeks (after surgery) and I’d be 100 percent in eight.’’
Section V class championships are the first weekend of February, followed by state qualifiers Feb. 10-11.
“I kind of had to make a decision,” Diakomihalis said. “I could try to wrestle through it, but if it gets worse, then I would miss the junior world trials and states.
“I kind of had to pick the better of two poisons. I’ve kind of come to peace with it.’’
The mix of Diakomihalis’ demeanor and achievements seemed to make him the wrestler who would be pictured if Section V wrestling had a flag. It is common for Diakomihalis to delay media interviews after a victory so he can go mat-side and root on a Hilton teammate or even a wrestler from another school.
“It’s kind of devastating, and it’s not even my kid,” Rush-Henrietta coach Mickey Marlowe said. “One thing about our sport is that coaches and kids compete. As the season winds down, we begin to root for other guys.
“We want him to do well. I personally don’t know him all that well, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in wrestling who doesn’t root for him.”
here is a chance that Diakomihalis will be at the state championships, but it will be to cheer on teammates and other Section V wrestlers.
“As big as it would have been to win five state titles, I hope I can keep moving forward and do more,” Diakomihalis said.
“I don’t want this to become a long-term issue where its affecting my college wrestling.’