BLASDELL — Nearly three months after claiming a state title, it still feels surreal to Anthony Robinson that he's a NYS champion — Starpoint's first state champion wrestler — in the 285-pound weight class. Even on Monday night at the 23rd Annual Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Fund Awards Night, he was still struggling to find the words to describe his monumental year.
But when Robinson was told by his coach that he was going to be expecting a call from the committee about being presented The Bill Hein Award, one thing was for sure: he had as much of an ideal final year with the Spartans wrestling program as you would want. Robinson was one of five recipients of an award on Monday night at Ilio DiPaolo Family Restaurant and Banquet Facility.
Along with Robinson, Guiseppe Hoose (Southwestern) was giving the Ilio DiPaolo Award, Joseph Andreesen (Lancaster) received the The Gary Castanza Award, Bryce Rowe (Chautauqua Lake) received The "Destroyer" Award and Mathew Evans (Randoph Central) received The Cauliflower Alley Club award.
"The thing about it is out of all the wrestlers in Western New York, they chose five of them to get honored and I was one of the five and it's incredible," Robinson said.
The Bill Hein Award is given to the wrester who displays love and committment to wrestling. Robinson encapsuled that through an appalling career at Starpoint. As a senior, Robinson posed a 41-6 record and 110-31 record at Starpoint. Along with a state championship, he also won the 2018 4th Eastern States Classic. He has also won PAL Male Athlete of the Year. As extra-curriculars, he played football for the Spartans, did community service for the Pendelton Athletic Booster Association (PABA) youth organization and volunteers for food drives as school and local churches.
As Robinson's time as a Spartan comes to an end, he said it was bitter sweet being at the awards ceremony. On one hand, it was the ideal way to end his senior year. On the other, it became a realization that it's all coming to an end.
In the state final, Robinson said he suffered a torn miniscus and he's been doing physical therapy as part of rehabilitation. As of now, Robinson said he wants to continue his wrestling career at the next level. He plans to attend Niagara County Community College for two years. He said he's not sure, but my redshirt his first year as he continues to rehab his knee.
Though the football team didn't do quite as well as he would have hoped, Robinson can look back at his senior year and walk away from Starpoint as its first champion as a recipient of the Bill Hein Award.
"Football season got cut short ... and last year I got hurt in the wrestling season at sectionals," Robinson said. "This year, I was able to stay healthy, get the job done and bring home a title to Section VI."
Follow sports reporter Wynston Wilcox on Twitter @wynstonw_ for updates on all your local teams.