Sayville wrestling captain Steven Leshinger has committed to Princeton, choosing the draw of an Ivy League university over a number of schools that offered him athletic scholarships.
Leshinger chose Princeton over rival Ivy League school Brown, as well as athletic scholarships from Boston University, Bucknell and Davidson.
"Besides what it did for me academically, I really like their coach," said Leshinger about what set Princeton apart. "He only got there like three years ago but he's already started to do a lot of great things for the program."
Last year, Leshinger displayed a wide array of skills that attracted so much attention from Division I schools. He finished with a record of 38-10, good for second in League V. He also earned all-County honors en route to finishing fourth in the Suffolk County championships.
Over the summer, he worked extensively with the Sayville Wrestling Club, run by Sayville coaches Gary Pesko and Mike Vetrano, qualifying for a pair of national tournaments.
"The coaches here, they were with me every place I went," he said. "They do a great job. I think everything in the offseason [with Sayville Wrestling Club] helped a lot," he said. "Going to Oklahoma, going to North Dakota, wrestling in national tournaments was important."
In addition to his prowess on the mat, Steven has also excelled in the classroom. He is currently ranked 16 out of 282 students in Sayville's 2011 class, with a weighted GPA of 101.2.
"If I didn't get the grades that I did in high school, I wouldn't have been able to even be eligible to go to Princeton," he said. "It's exciting because I think I'll get a pretty good opportunity somewhere down the road."
Head coach Gary Pesko spoke about some of the attributes that have helped Steven achieve such a high level of success:
"Steven's drive and determination to excel in all areas of his life are the reason for his success," Pesko said. "The same determination Steven brings to his education—his drive to take the most challenging course of study possible—is best exemplified in his steadfast determination to seek out the best competition possible. He knows what it takes to be at the highest level and continues to work hard to improve upon himself on a daily basis."
Now that he's settled on where he will be attending college, Steven is focused on leading Sayville to a league championship.
"I want to win," he said. "I'm looking to help this team win the league."