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Hard work finally pays off for Vista's Grossi

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Troy Grossi has been wrestling for seven years. Hundreds of matches and even more practices have come and gone, Grossi leaving everything he has in the room.

All that work paid off for Grossi over the weekend, as the Vista del Lago senior qualified for the state wrestling tournament via a fifth-place finish in the 145-pound weight class at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament. Grossi assured himself a spot at state with a pin over Landon Croisant of Lincoln in the consolation quarterfinals.

“That was one of the happiest moments of my life,” Grossi said. “It’s the first time I every cried for joy. Finally, it feels like all the hard work has paid off.”

 Making the state tournament didn’t come easy for Grossi. He opened the tournament with a 13-7 win over Alex Gonzalez of Natomas but then dropped his next match to the eventual third-place finisher, Andrew Patrick of Hughson, 8-4.

In his first consolation bout, Grossi defeated Buhach Colony’s Robby Sanchez, 9-3, before facing Mitchell Selna of West in his final match Friday.

Grossi trailed by four points heading into the third period and he was a period away from the end of his high school wrestling career. Featuring his skill in the neutral position, Grossi picked up three takedowns in the period, the final one tying the match with two seconds remaining.

“I was down by a lot and I just tried to stay focused,” Grossi said. “I remember how everyone is rooting for me and watching and I just did everything I could.”

“Troy turned into a man possessed,” Vista coach Frank Richmond said. “With his confidence level high, Troy immediately attacked in overtime, scoring a takedown to keep his hopes alive.

“As a coach, it was a stressful and scary moment, but we always knew Troy’s strongest quality as an athlete was his heart and his ability to never give up.”

Grossi started Saturday with a 5-2 decision over Kalen Camacho of American Canyon before pinning Croisant to qualify for the state tournament. Grossi then lost a second time to Patrick before earning a fifth-place finish by injury default.

“Emotions were high when Troy became a state qualifier,” Richmond said. “It was unbelievable to see the joy he had when all the hard work and dedication he has put in the last four years came to fruition.”

Not only did Grossi qualify for the state tournament, but in doing so he became the first from the school to do so.

“It’s really special to be the first at Vista to qualify,” Grossi said. “I’m glad and honored to have done it.”

Grossi has one goal for the state tournament.

“I’m just going to give it my all and whatever happens, happens,” he said. “I just want to go out feeling good.”

Grossi’s come a long way in four years. Richmond said as a freshman Grossi struggled, winning only about five matches. However, while the wins were few and far between, Richmond noticed something in him.

“I gave him the Dan Gable Work Ethic Award at the banquet because Troy busted his butt at every practice,” Richmond said. “I vaguely remember this, but his mom told me that I said in four years he would be a state qualifier and as it turned out he did it. All it took was Troy believing in himself. With him being the first to do it at Vista, I hope guys see that and we start having more guys qualify every year.”