( Written by Matt Diano )
Another of my favorite Long Island standouts on the mat has taken the next step in securing his future!!!!
Congratulations to Wantagh senior, Josiah Encarnacion, on signing his National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and athletic careers in Charlottesville as a part of the matriculating student-body at the University of Virginia.
A "Warrior" in name, as well as attitude, the future Cavalier student-athlete has been a bona fide gem and difference maker since stepping into the line-up for the Black & Gold as an 8th grader during the 2015/2016 season.
A Section VIII Championship qualifier every year of his scholastic career, Encarnacion would go 1-2 in his first appearance at Counties, but has been absolutely unbeatable since, compiling an immaculate 12-0 record, with 10 of these victories being accompanied by bonus points (6 falls, 3 majors, 1 TF) in claiming three straight individual crowns from 2017-2019 at 99-113....
This level of achievement has translated into triumph on bigger domestic stages too, as Encarnacion has placed three straight years at both the NYSPHSAA Large School State tournament and the prestigious Eastern States Classic.
In fact, with each passing trip to the state capital, Josiah has improved his finish, going from 6th as a 99-pound freshman, to 3rd as a sophomore at 106 pounds, and then earned state runner-up status in 2019 in the 113-pound bracket....He heads into his swan song as the owner of a 9-5 record under the roof of the Times Union Center, which includes getting his arm raised against foes with a combined five All-state distinctions.
No stranger to toppling elite level competition, in securing a pair of 5th place showings (2017, 2018) and a 6th (2019) at ESC, Encarnacion knocked off 2019 state titlist, Ryan Burgos (in 2017) and defeated 2018 NYS DI champ, Terry Adams, in back-to-back years in 2018 and 2019.
This past March, the VHW trained stud took the act national, earning All-American status in Virginia Beach at 2019 NHSCA Juniors...Posting a record of 5-3, Encarnacion bested a pair of 2x Virginia State Champs (Cole McCormick, Jack Creamer), and upended the 2019 North Dakota State runner-up (Kelby Armstrong) en route to an 8th place performance.
Like many of the Empire State's top prospects, what moves the needle from good to legendary in the case of Encarnacion, is that his personal glory concurrently lifted his school to collective greatness...
-In four years with him in the line-up the Warriors have not finished lower than 3rd at the County tournament, winning team titles in 2017 and 2018...They just missed a three-peat in 2019, finishing 2nd.
-In three NYSPHSAA berths, he led Wantagh to the 2018 team title and helped them finish 5th last season.
-In 2018, he was a part of the title-winning squad that won the inaugural NYSPHSAA State Dual Meet Tournament.