Maverick Passaro is back on the Island.
After spending a year at Rutgers University, the former Eastport-South Manor state champion is now a member of the Hofstra Pride, where he plans to wrestle at 133 pounds in 2013-14.
“It’s a much better fit for me,” Passaro said. “It’s really good to represent the Island and be part of building a team here with the best Long Island wrestlers. I’m happy to be closer to home and I think I’ll also be able to pursue my career better at Hofstra. They have the major that I want and I think it’s a better place for me as a wrestler.”
Another bonus to being a member of the Pride is the chance to work with a familiar face.
“I’m really excited to be back with [assistant coach] Ryan Patrovich, who I know for a long time. He coached me in club wrestling for years.”
But Passaro emphasized that while he’s excited about the change, there were many positives about his experience in New Jersey.
“I had a good time at Rutgers,” he said. “I got along with the coaches and I had great teammates. I made some big improvements in my wrestling — I spent a lot of time on the mat rather than on my feet and I improved a lot in the top position.”
That time on the mat was more limited than Passaro hoped, however. He got off to a solid start with a 2-2 performance at the Hokie Open in his first collegiate action. However, as the squad prepared to face Clarion a week later, Passaro suffered a dislocated thumb in practice.
“I didn’t get to wrestle as much as I wanted because of injuries,” he said. “When I was getting back from the first injury, I ran into another one when I really hurt my back lifting. It threw me off completely. It was tough to go through a year like that because I was never really hurt before in my life. It was frustrating to not be able to be out there on the mat the way I wanted to be.”
After only wrestling a few matches all season, Passaro said he applied for a medical redshirt and will find out by the end of the summer whether it has been granted by the NCAA.
In the interim, he’s healthy again and ready to get back to the competition he missed.
“I’ve been training four times a week for about four weeks now,” he said. “I moved in to Hofstra a few days ago and now that I’m living here, it’s a lot easier and it’s different. I feel like I’m really a part of it. I’ve been working with guys like Jamie Franco, Jamel Hudson and Kyle Krasavage. I can’t wait for the season to get started.”
Maverick Passaro became the first-ever state champion from Eastport-South Manor High School when he defeated Sam Speno of Fox Lane 2-1 in 2012 at 126 pounds. Speno was an NCAA qualifier for North Carolina State as a true freshman in 2013.
Passaro isn’t the only anticipated addition to the Hofstra program for the 2013-14 campaign. More details will be provided when available.