SCARSDALE, N.Y. After a breakout junior year in which Scarsdale's Jacob Berkowitz won the Section 1 Division I 170-pound wrestling title, he began thinking ahead.
"I realized I wanted to continue wrestling in college, but I was not sure, right away, if I wanted to wrestle D1 or D3," Berkowitz said. "After a lot of consideration, I thought D1 was the better choice for me."
As a senior, Berkowitz went on to have the most successful year in Scarsdale wrestling program history, finishing with 50 wins and becoming a state finalist at 182 pounds.
He will continue wrestling at Binghamton University next fall. Berkowitz will join Fox Lane's Sam Speno, who will also be a freshman.
Berkowitz was considering Franklin & Marshall and New York University, along with Binghamton. But once he made an official visit and met with Binghamton coach Pat Popolizio, Berkowitz was convinced.
"Some of the factors that helped me make my final decision with Binghamton is the outstanding academics offered there, as well as the team and coaches," Berkowitz said. "They have a spectacular team that is on the rise, and their coaches are phenomenal.
"I spoke to Coach Popolizio before I made my final decision. I really like his attitude toward the team and to the sport."
Beacon's Vin Grella, a 2011 Section 1 Division I champ and state place finisher, is a member of the team. "It's exciting that Sam is going to Binghamton, and Vin is already there," Berkowitz said. "It shows that Section 1 can produce really great wrestlers who can compete on very good, nationally ranked teams."
Since the high school season concluded, Berkowitz has been working hard to prepare for the next level. "Knowing that I am going to a D1 program, the only thing I feel that has changed is that I know I will have to work even harder to succeed."
Berkowitz will graduate in June as Scarsdale's leader in wins and the second of the program's two-time champions, joining Brian Lucas (1963 and '64).
"My senior year was really amazing," Berkowitz said. "Scarsdale had one of its best teams in a while, and it was really nice to be able to watch that happen.
"Individually, I felt that I performed very well over the course of the season. While the ending is still bittersweet, I am proud of myself to have been able to improve so much from last year and make it to the state finals this year."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.