It has been more than 30 years since a Mechanicville High School wrestler broke the school’s all-time wins record.
And after Mechanicville/Stillwater senior Daniel Motta did that with his season-opening wins on Wednesday and Thursday to match and pass Chris Izzo’s 134 wins, Motta’s still-growing record is likely to last even longer than his predecessor’s mark which, was set in 1987.
“Daniel’s record probably is going to last for 50 years because the way wrestling has changed throughout the years,” Mechanicville coach Fred DeCelle said.
Motta, a Mechanicville senior, has been on the wrestling team since he was in the seventh grade.
“I normally don’t bring up seventh- or eighth-graders unless I feel they’re really ready, and put the time and effort into it,” DeCelle said. “Thirty years is a long time for the record, and for someone like him to break it, I mean it tells that he put the dedication and time in.”
Mechanicville and Stillwater combined their high school wrestling programs early in Motta’s career.
“I’ve just been doing what I’ve been doing every year,” Motta said. “Playing hard and keeping good people around me, and making sure everything is good in school and in sports — in everything.”
Motta tied the school record with a win in a 138-pound match, and then broke it with a victory in a 145-pound match.
“Beating this record means a lot,” Motta said. “There are tons of great wrestlers in the program, and the fact that I got the record is just really nice to have something that will stand for who knows how long.”
Previously, Motta set himself up to break his school’s record with ease as a senior. Motta won Section II titles in 2016 and 2017, helping to put himself in position to break the record early this season.
“He was only a few wins away, we knew he was going to end up with 30, 35 wins easily this year,” DeCelle said. “He’s worked hard to get to this point through his whole career. He’s a real good, talented kid.”
That’s how Stillwater coach Walter West sees it, too.
“The best part about Daniel is that he’s a really good kid all the way around. He’s a great leader and the hardest working kid in the room,” West said. “You put all those things together and [he is a] a role model, and not just a guy who wins matches.”
Motta has yet to decide where he wants to go after high school, but right now, he’s just looking forward to enjoying his final high school wrestling season.
“I’m just trying to focus on one match at a time,” Motta said.
Jennie Heyward is an intern at The Daily Gazette. Heyward, a senior at the University at Albany, is majoring in journalism.