Realbuto, Rodrigues qualify for NCAA wrestling tourney

Realbuto, Rodrigues qualify for NCAA wrestling tourney

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Realbuto, Rodrigues qualify for NCAA wrestling tourney

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Illinois' Steven Rodrigues, top, competes with Nebraska's Austin Wilson in a semifinal at 165 pounds during the Big Ten wrestling championships in Iowa City, Iowa, on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Matthew Holst)

Illinois’ Steven Rodrigues, top, competes with Nebraska’s Austin Wilson in a semifinal at 165 pounds during the Big Ten wrestling championships in Iowa City, Iowa, on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Matthew Holst)

After coming close to winning an NCAA Division I wrestling championship last year, Brian Realbuto will get another shot at glory in less than two weeks at Madison Square Garden.

The Cornell junior, who graduated from Somers High as Section 1’s all-time wins leader, lost a 10-2 major decision to Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez in the 157-pound final last year. He made the jump to 174 pounds this season, and won his second EIWA conference title on Sunday with a 12-6 decision over Army’s Brian Harvey. Realbuto is currently ranked No. 3 in the country in his weight class by InterMatWrestle.com.

Realbuto will be joined at the NCAA championships by another local wrestler, Illinois senior Steven Rodrigues. The Fox Lane graduate qualified by taking third at 165 pounds at the Big 10 championships on Sunday with a 4-2 decision over Nebraska’s Austin Wilson. Rodrigues lost a 10-2 major decision in the semifinals to Ohio State’s Bo Jordan, who is currently ranked third in the country by InterMat. Rodrigues is ranked fifth.

The Division I wrestling championships will be held at MSG on March 17-19. The seeds for the tournament are expected to be announced on Wednesday.

Twitter@vzmercogliano

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