A Bear(cat) of A Good Recruit: 2x NYS DII Finalist/2009 Champion To Stay In-State; Verbals to Binghamton

Derek Heyman

Earlier this morning, Tioga High School rising senior, Derak Heyman, a 2x NYS DII finalist and 2009 State Champion, was named as one of the top-10 members of NYS’ class of 2011 as a part of the InterMat Wrestling-49 series. This was only the start of the good news for this immensely talented young man and his family as several hours later, he revealed to Lighthouse Wrestling that after weighing all of his options, he had elected to give a verbal commitment to reigning Colonial Athletic Association champions, the Bearcats of Binghamton University. In doing so, Heyman becomes the second blue-chip recruit in less than a week from the Empire State to officially break the news of his college plans; He joins fellow 2x state finalist (albeit different divisions) Grant Greene, who on the 25th of this month, broke the news that he would be continuing his academic and athletic pursuits at Northwestern University. Heyman is the first elite wrestler to announce his intentions to compete for Coach Pat Popolizio and staff.

Arriving on the scholastic scene as a physically mature 8th-grader (when Tioga was still competing in the DI tournament), Heyman, while unable to place in a deep 112-pound weight class, did give NYS enthusiasts a preview of what they could expect in the coming years, beating future NYS champion, Vinnie DiGravio, in the opening round of the 2007 state tournament. While a bad draw would result in him dropping his next two matches to the eventual 3rd and 4th place finishers in the state, the experience was one that that was both educational and beneficial for the future Bearcat student-athlete.

2008 would have a sort of deja vu feeling to it for Heyman, who despite being the only freshman in a 125-pound weight class filled with upperclassmen, was successful for the second consecutive year in winning his initial match to advance to the quarterfinal round of the DI tournament. Unfortunately, bad luck would again plague Heyman as he would be defeated in his two matches (this time to the eventual state runner-up and the wrestler placing fourth)….While the end result may not have been what Heyman was hoping for, one thing was for certain, competing against a more experienced caliber of opponent served as excellent preparation for the NHSCA Freshman National tournament, a tournament that the Section IV wrestler was able to medal in, finishing third and earning the first of what has been a career filled with All-American honors.

Sophomore year would represent a dream season for Heyman as he enjoyed not only his finest in-state performance, but also really turned it on nationally, claiming the 130-pound NYS DII title (Tioga switched divisions between 2008 and 2009), as well as finishing as the national runner-up in Virginia Beach at Sophomore Nationals. In both instances, the #9 ranked senior in NYS really put his offense on display, outscoring his state opponents by a tally of 41-13, and defeating his first four opponents at the NHSCA event by a margin of 33-8, before dropping a narrow 8-6 decision in the title bout to New Jersey’s James Green.

2010 was another promising year for the returning finalist, compiling a more than impressive 45-2 overall record with his only losses coming at the hands of 2x NYS DI Champion/current Lehigh true freshman Stephen Dutton (3-1), and in the DII state title match to Tyler Peet (6-5). But alas, showing the heart and perseverance embodied by all champions, rather than hark on the loss, Heyman, would quickly rebound and put an emphatic ending on his junior campaign by yet again achieving All-American honors, finishing four at the Junior National tournament.

Now only a few months away from the commencement of his scholastic career, Heyman knows that he will take to the mat as the heavy favorite to win the 140-pound title that just barely escaped his grasp last season. With the majority of the 2010 state-placewinners at 135 and 140 having graduated, the question might not be, will Heyman end his high school career as a 2x State Champion, but rather, how dominant will he be in taking home the hardware in 2011?

Projected as a 141-pounder at the next level, Heyman might find himself in a position to walk right into an immediate starting job with the incumbent, Anwar Goeres, set to complete his NCAA eligibility at the end of the upcoming season. 

On behalf of everyone here at LHW, sincerely congratulate Derak and his family on the selection to the top-10 seniors list, as well as the joyous news that he will be representing the state university for years to come. We wish him the very best of luck on a very successful and injury free senior season !

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