The consensus No. 1 recruit in the Empire State, as cited in the New York installment of the Wrestling 49 series, Realbuto enters his senior campaign as the favorite to not only add a third state NYS DI title (an honor he would share with future teammate, Nick Arujau) to his resume, but to also put the finishing touches on his fifth overall placement on the grandest stage in Albany. A titlist in 2009 at 103 pounds (beating 2010 NYS champion/2010 NHSCA All-American Damon McQueen), as well as last season at 135 (besting another former champ in the person of 2010 NHCA Junior National Champion, Bob Dierna), Realbuto has posted previous finishes of fourth (as an eighth-grader at 96 pounds) and third (2010 at 112 pounds) respectively during his scholastic career.
Brian RealbutoAlready a hot commodity on the national radar, Realbuto's stock exploded off the charts this summer when he won a loaded 145-pound weight class at the 2011 Junior National freestyle tournament in Fargo. Securing the pin with short time remaining in the second period over 2013 Top 10 recruit Brian Murphy of Illinois, Realbuto became the first wrestler since 2004 to hoist the hardware under the Dome. It is now more fitting than ever that the last to accomplish the feat was Cornell alumnus, former four-time NCAA All-American/2009 NCAA champion Troy Nickerson, who was a double champ in the international styles following his junior year at Chenango Forks High School.
A self-described "funky when down on the mat" wrestler, the Max Askren-trained student-athlete was no stranger to national success prior to this July, having twice earned All-American honors during the first half of his career. In 2009, he placed fourth at the NHSCA Freshmen Nationals at 112 pounds. He would solidify his position among the nation's elite the following offseason, taking home the bronze medal from the inaugural FloNationals at the same weight.
Carrying a cumulative record of 230-11, when interviewed for the Wrestling 49 piece, Realbuto listed Lehigh, Penn State, and the University of Pennsylvania among his many suitors. Hence, beating out a pair of conference rivals for his service is certainly an added bonus for Cornell. In explaining his decision, Realbuto expressed the following sentiments: "The coaches are great people and the team is awesome. It's somewhere I can see myself fitting in and I want to be a part of the tradition they're building. It's the best place for me to accomplish my goals both on and off of the mat."
Realbuto is projected at either 149 or 157 pounds on the college level -- spots that have been and will be occupied by another former NY great, defending two-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake, who only won two state titles during his impressive reign at Lansing High School. Whether Realbuto will playfully claim bragging rights remains unknown!