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Neale Pathak’s journey to the New York University mat

Going+into+the+next+school+year%2C+Pathak+will+compete+against+other+athletes+at+the+collegiate+level%2C+hoping+to+secure+many+wins+for+NYU.
Riki Murase
Going into the next school year, Pathak will compete against other athletes at the collegiate level, hoping to secure many wins for NYU.

With ten seconds left in the third period, senior Neale Pathak pins his opponent to the ground, forcing their shoulder blades to the wrestling mat. After two seconds, the referee’s shrill whistle ends the match, and Pathak emerges victorious. This single winning match secured him a spot at the state tournament. 

Qualifying for states his junior year and placing top six at nationals his senior year are just some of the most memorable moments Pathak recalls from his high school wrestling career. In December 2023, Pathak formally committed to New York University for wrestling. Going into the next school year, he will compete against other athletes at the collegiate level, hoping to secure many wins for NYU.

Pathak was introduced to the sport of wrestling in his sixth grade, when he decided to join the wrestling team at Miller Middle School. 

“It wasn’t until seventh and eighth grade when I really started to take wrestling seriously,” Pathak said. “It was a really addicting feeling to see myself improve every single day. I think that’s what motivated me and that’s when I really started focusing on wrestling.”

Going into his freshman year of high school at Lynbrook, Pathak joined the junior varsity wrestling team. This was one of his toughest years of wrestling after just coming back from the COVID-19 lockdown. After not training for a while due to the pandemic, Pathak found himself struggling to succeed, and he ended the year with a losing record.

“I was mad at myself my freshman year because I was losing so much, and I didn’t feel like I was getting better,” Pathak said. “I decided that this couldn’t go on and I wanted to win. I wanted to be the best version of myself and the best wrestler I can be.” 

From that point, Pathak started wrestling every day for two to three hours. By the time he was a sophomore on varsity, Pathak had one goal in mind: to make states. Unfortunately, Pathak lost his qualifying match as a sophomore. A year later, Pathak faced off with the same opponent he had lost to the previous year for the same exact qualifying spot to the state tournament. This time, Pathak won. 

“That was probably my favorite match ever, one of my proudest accomplishments,” Pathak said. 

As a senior this year, Pathak has been very successful, winning the Jim Root Memorial Tournament, taking sixth place at the Freakshow National Tournament in Las Vegas, earning his best record so far. 

 This year, Pathak has also made the pivotal decision of committing to NYU for wrestling, hoping to continue the sport well beyond high school. Initially, Pathak reached out to a couple of programs that he was interested in including the University of Chicago and Case Western Reserve University. However, after going on a visit to NYU and talking to the athletes and coaches there, Pathak decided it was the perfect fit for him. 

Looking back at his journey, Pathak attributes many of his successes to support from the people in his life — especially his coaches. At college, he hopes to connect with his teammates and form a tight bond with the team. Pathak knows the next few years will not be easy, but his determination and perseverance will push him closer to his goals. 

“In college, my goal is to become an All-American,” Pathak said. “I’m not sure when I’ll be able to accomplish that, but before I graduate, I want to be an All-American.”

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About the Contributors
David Zhu, Staffer
(he/him) David is a sophomore and a first year staffer! He loves eating any asian food -- some of his favorites include ramen, pho, and hot pot. Basketball is his favorite sport of all time, and he also loves to go on runs and hikes in his free time. He has two siblings - a younger sister and twin brother.
Riki Murase, Social Media Manager
(he/him) Riki is a senior and a second-year staffer as well as the social media and photography manager for the Epic. He enjoys reading, cooking, playing video games, lifting, and wrestling.

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