SARATOGA SPRINGS — Eric Griskowitz, a senior on the varsity wrestling squad at Saratoga Springs CSD has been wrestling since he was five-years-old after his dad, Greg, found him “climbing up the banisters” in his house.
“Then my dad just brought me to wrestling one day and I wrestled this kid named John Roux. I had no wrestling shoes, I was so nervous, but I went and it wasn’t too bad so I kept going back, although I didn’t want to continue at first,” Griskowitz continued.
And it’s a good thing for Saratoga Springs that he did decide to continue: Griskowitz recently placed first at 145 lbs. in the Section II Championships, securing his 200th win in his varsity career in one fell swoop. He will be competing in the State Champions in two weeks.
The last two and a half years has not been easy for him, though.
First, he tore his ACL/Meniscus during wrestling his sophomore year and then his rotator cuff during lacrosse last season. For 14 months, he was out of sports and recuperating with PT.
“That transition from wrestling to lacrosse is hard. I’m a goalie, I need to gain my weight back, which I can do pretty fast. I’m in shape already which is pretty good, but it’s a hard transition because I’m already in the wrestling mindset and I haven’t picked up a lacrosse stick in months,” Griskowitz explained.
Despite the ACL/Meniscus injury, he forged on and managed to place in the second sectional that season.
This year is his comeback.
This is his first year as a Section II champion, and the 20th to ever come from Saratoga Springs.
“It was my biggest goal this season,” he said.
“I was so happy, I walked up to the stands, gave my parents a hug, and then I started to get teary,” he laughed.
“After that, I came home and hung out with a couple of my closest friends and we ordered Domino’s and had some fun,” he stated.
“States is next. I’m hoping to place, I have no clue what seed I’ll be. Last year I was a 4-seed, which was shocking to me,” he continued.
A “seed” is when players and teams are “planted” into a bracket in a way that uses statistics so the “best of the best” do no meet until later in the competition.
The team consisted of a lot of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, with only five seniors.
“It’ll be a great team, just won’t be big for a couple of years until they start developing and getting better. It’s a very individual sport so our team, I would say, struggled this year. We were a very young team and that definitely played a role in the lineup. There was a couple kids on our team that we had to rely on for wins and I was one of them. It put a lot of pressure on me but I still got it done a lot of the time,” Griskowitz said candidly.
Griskowitz did bounce from a few different weight categories this season but he did so with ease, barely losing any energy in the process.
“Basically, it’s two times working out a day. I have my practice and then I might go to the YMCA or for a run. Then, I cut back a lot on what I eat. I try not to eat anything that’s too unhealthy or as dense, that would cause me to gain a lot of weight,” he said, explaining his process.
His favorite foods when he isn’t wrestling? Bagels from Uncommon Grounds, yogurt, and sandwiches from the place his mom Gloria owns, Putnam Market.
He cites his father, Greg, as his biggest supporter and Patrick Egan.
“Pat was rooting for me all year. He knew exactly how many wins I had at every point in the season, just waiting for me to get to 200,” he said.
With his high school wrestling career coming to a close in two weeks, he took time to reflect on what his favorite part was: “Oh the victories, I love the victories. Making waves is always good but so is diving into my cooler and eating all the food,” he laughed, “but also the friendships I made along the way were insane.”
State Championships take place February 28 and 29 at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Good luck, Eric!