Travis Passaro has traveled around the country seeking the best competition. But when it came time to decide on his future home, he didn’t want to go far at all.
After considering Cornell, Duke and Maryland, the Eastport South Manor (ESM) senior announced a few days ago that he would attend Hofstra in the fall of 2014.
His arrival will double the number of Passaros on the Pride squad as older brother Maverick is now a freshman on the Hempstead campus.
“My brother transferring to Hofstra made me really want to go there,” Travis Passaro said. “I’ve worked out with him my whole life – he’s a great workout partner. We’ve been drilling for a long time. That gave me a big reason to go there. I also think the team will just keep getting better. There are some really good Long Island kids who want to go to Hofstra. And I like that it’s close to home.”
Passaro will get the chance to stay on Long Island, a place where he is already a three-time Suffolk County placer. He captured his first Section 11 title in 2013 during a 49-4 campaign in which he made a statement in his initial appearance at the state tournament in Albany.
After winning his first two bouts at the Times Union Center, Passaro dropped his semifinal contest against Steve Michel. However, he responded in the consolations, topping Commack’s Mike D’Angelo in a rematch of the Sectional finals before majoring Pearl River’s John Muldoon, the number two seed, 12-4 to earn bronze.
“I was looking to win the state title going into the tournament, so taking third was a big letdown,” Passaro said. “But, I have another year to come back and win it, so I’m really happy about that.”
For that last campaign, Passaro has set his goals high.
“I want to go undefeated during the season, win states and then go to the FloNationals finals,” he said.
The FloNationals is a significant event for Passaro. He has had success at a number of events outside of the Empire State, including a fourth place showing at the NHSCA Nationals as a freshman. However, he said that his eighth place medal at FloNationals in the spring really stands out to him.
“It’s a great tournament, with great competition,” he said. “I wanted to do better, but placing at Flo was something I was really excited about.”
Before he gets another crack at that event, Passaro will face a loaded field at the Super 32 Challenge in October. A year ago, he came within one win of the podium at the prestigious tournament, losing to Florida’s Jared Prince twice.
This time, he’ll take the mat in Greensboro, North Carolina at 126 pounds, the weight he expects to wrestle for ESM this year.
He got off to a great start in the new class over the weekend at the Journeymen Classic, taking the title (at 130) in a bracket that included All-Americans Kevin Jack (CT) and Zach Valley (PA) as well as New York state champion Alex Delacruz. He picked up a commanding 6-0 victory in the championship match over Payton Shuford, a multi-time North Carolina placer/2013 3A State titlist.
The future college 133 or 141 pounder believes it’s only the beginning of what he’s capable of accomplishing this year.
“I’ve been training every day, whether it’s lifting or wrestling,” he said. “I’ve been working out with [two-time state champion Nick] Piccinnini, [NHSCA National champion Chris] Mauriello and [Suffolk finalist] Jimmy Leach. I’m just focused on getting better every day.”
Travis Passaro wanted to thank his workout partners, his parents and his coaches.