Tby Aidan Cappellino ’20 & Logan Wilson ’20
This past weekend, while the vast majority of Chaminade students were preparing for another week of schoolwork and exams, the coaches and members of the Flyers wrestling squad battled for supremacy on the mats.
After capping off a successful league tournament and being recognized as the second-ranked team in the CHSAA, Chaminade sent 18 of its grapplers to Monsignor Farrell High School to compete in the CHSAA Section 12 Catholic State Qualifier Tournament. The Flyers achieved outstanding overall success, earning a third-place ranking out of 18 teams, bested only by Msgr. Farrell and St. Anthony’s.
Over two grueling days, the Flyers – led by CHSAA Coach of the Year Scott Cole ’95 and assistant coaches Mr. Gregory Saporita ’02, Pete Murawski ’96, David Foxen, Mr. Justin Accordino, and Mike Maher – accrued a phenomenal nine placing wrestlers out of the 18 eligible for competition. Of those nine, The Flyers secured two finalists in senior Connor Llewellyn ’18 of the competitive 126-pound weight class division, who ascended to the first-place seat, and talented freshman Michael Sanfilippo of the 108-pound weight class division, who nabbed second place in his first year of contention.
Along with these successes, seven more Flyers individually placed within their weight classes. Joey Nicotra ‘21 received third-place honors; John Boccardo ’19 and Will Dean ’19 earned fourth-place honors; Davis Luckner ’20, Michael Semeraro ’20, and Doug Stern ’20 each finished in fifth place; and heavyweight David Mollon ’19 took sixth place in the 285-pound weight class. The Flyers certainly have a bright future to look forward to, as eight of their nine placing wrestlers will be returning next year and have the perfect opportunity to improve upon their already impressive skills.
For yet another year, the tireless efforts of the Chaminade Flyers over the past few months have resulted in success, staying true to the tradition of excellence created by the wrestling program. The grapplers attribute this winning culture to one man: Coach Cole, who was recognized for his excellence as Chaminade’s wrestling coach by the NCHSAA as Coach of the Year.
The 2017-2018 season was Coach Cole’s 16th year as a high school wrestling coach and fifth as the head coach here at Chaminade. The Crimson and Gold have found consistent success under his leadership.
Coach Cole’s own career as a wrestler started as a Chaminade freshman. Without any experience in the sport, he joined the team and grew to love competing. He wrestled in all four of his years at Jackson Avenue and was a varsity captain as a senior. After his time at Chaminade, he went on to wrestle at Virginia Tech.
A few years later, Mr. Cole’s love for wrestling drew him back to the sport as a coach. “I love the sport, and I love to teach the young men here at Chaminade. It gives me the opportunity to do what I love,” noted Coach Cole. “Whether it is in the gym, classroom, or wrestling room – everywhere I work I love what I do. I love my job and love my career. Not many people can say that, but I certainly can.”
With his passion for coaching wrestling, Coach Cole has had a positive influence on many of the grapplers he coaches.
“Coach Cole is a unique type of coach who knows what it takes to achieve his own personal goals, and those of the wrestlers as well,” explained Davis Luckner ’20. “He also thrives on teaching the wrestlers to be gentlemen off the mat. Coach Cole treats every wrestler like a professional, and expects everyone one of us to act like one. Looking past high school, knowing and applying what I’ve learned from Coach Cole will take me a long way in the future. That’s something I can guarantee.”