HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. >> He's only a 14-year old freshman, but Hoosick Falls Central School wrestler Matt LaPorte is more then ready for the huge task at hand for himself this weekend.
LaPorte will compete for the New York state Division II wrestling championship at 99 pounds this weekend after winning the Class B sectional title two weekends ago.
"I'm ready for the opportunity to win a state championship," LaPorte said. "I would never would have I thought I would win a sectional title at the beginning this year, but I have improved so much this year and I am wrestling the best I have had in my whole life right now. I feel I can achieve anything I can set my mind to."
Wrestling has been a passion of LaPorte ever since he started kindergarten.
Wanting to try to be a wrestler like his dad, Michael, was back in the day, LaPorte started wrestling at the youth level at age five.
Since the day he began to wrestle, LaPorte fell in love with sport and has been passionate about it ever since.
"I remember when we started going to tournaments, that wrestling was the sport for me," LaPorte said. "It just felt natural for me being on the mat and I saw that I had a bright future in the sport."
The bright future he had foreseen for himself has been very bright, as LaPorte has the chance to do what he has always dreamed of doing in winning a state championship.
"My goal has all along been to win a state championship by the end of my high school career," LaPorte said. "Having a chance to do it as a freshman is really exciting and just shows me that if I keep getting better and better that I'm going to have to a great chance of achieving that dream of winning a state championship."
LaPorte will try become the second wrestler in Hoosick Falls Central School history to win a state title.
The first to do so, as many Hoosick Falls people would know, was Luis Weierbach back in 2013, winning a Division II championship at the 106 pound weight class.
As LaPorte is now looking to follow in his footsteps and win a state title of his own, Weierbach has reached out to the young freshman.
The two, who have chatted before the season, talked earlier this week about the championships, with Weierbach giving LaPorte a pregame motivational pep talk.
"Talking to Luis early this week really inspired me," LaPorte said. "We talked about confidence and how you need to be strong mentally to win a state championship. His motivational speech to me really helped me understand that you have to deeply believe in yourself if you want to succeed. You can work as hard as you want, but if you don't mentally believe in yourself, you're not likely going to achieve what you want, so having confidence in yourself is the most important thing."
The mental aspect of wrestling has been something LaPorte has gone to Weierbach for advice on the past few years.
It's something that really helped him become very self-confident, LaPorte said, and he looks forward to getting more advice from Weierbach throughout his high school career.
LaPorte now will take his talks with Weierbach and put them to use come Friday when the road to a Division II championship begins for him at the Times Union Center in Albany.
"I'm confident and ready to go," LaPorte said. "I have worked hard the past few weeks to physically and mentally prepare myself for this opportunity and I am ready to go."