Meet the Champs: Pearl River’s James Kelly
If we gave out an award for comeback wrestler of the year, Pearl River’s James Kelly would certainly be near the top of the list. Kelly won a section title at 99 pounds as a sophomore, but was injured during sectionals last year and did not place. He returned to the mat this season with some question marks, and found himself in a weight class that is traditionally very strong in Section 1. Few were picking Kelly to win a Rockland County title – myself included – after he lost to top-seeded Alex D’Angelo of North Rockland twice during the regular season, but he pulled off the upset to earn MOW honors. The situation at sectionals was similar. Edgemont’s Kyle Aslanian was considered the favorite as a defending champ who had place at states last year, but once again, Kelly defied the odds. And once again, he was named MOW. The deck will be stacked against him for a third time at states this weekend in a weight class that is considered among the deepest in D2, but I think we’ve learned never to count Kelly out. “Everything is coming together right now,” Kelly told me after sectionals. “At counties, that was a huge win, and coming here I felt good and confident with all of my moves.”
Here are the answers that James submitted:
Weight Class: 120 in D2
How did you get started with wrestling? My older brother got me into wrestling when I was 8.
What is it that you love about the sport? I love how it’s only you on the mat and, win or lose, you can’t blame anyone else but yourself.
What is the most challenging part about it? Cutting weight
What have been some of the key parts to your success this season? Putting together more shorts and being on more of an offensive side by scoring more points.
How would you decribe yourself on the mat? Pushing the pace and always alert.
And off it? Pretty easy going.
What is your favorite sports team? Jets.
What is your favorite movie? Dark Knight.
What is your favorite food? Chicken Parm.