Victorious! Wrestling Wins First State Title in Seven Years

By: Joe Nolan ’20

This season, Chaminade’s varsity wrestling squad garnered a regular season dual match record of 11-4 and capped it off with a NSCHSAA League Championship.

On Sunday, February 16th, the grapplers looked to further bolster this season’s resume when they traveled to Holy Trinity High School with hopes of winning the CHSAA Varsity Catholic States Team Championship, a title the team has not held in seven years. Of the 30 Flyers who competed at Kellenberg for the League Championship, 22 of them advanced and qualified to partake in the State Championship.

The Flyers achieved their ultimate goal, as they vanquished their 18 opponents at the State Championship and were crowned State Champions for the first time since 2013. As a result of the resilience and prowess of the Crimson and Gold, they were able to snap the six-year winning streak of the St. Anthony’s Friars.

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Doug Stern ‘20 pins his opponent.

Of the 22 Flyers who competed at the tournament, 11 placed in their respective weight classes, and three wrestlers—Shane Meenaghan ’23, Michael Sanfilippo ’21, and Rocco DeMartino ’21–qualified for the Public School Championship held in Albany; this is the first time that three Flyers qualified for Public States since 2009.

Despite his heartbreaking loss that he suffered at the NSCHSAA Championship, Meenaghan managed to defeat a Xavier wrestler (who placed 5th at States last year), thus avenging the aforementioned loss and resulting in his becoming the first Chaminade freshman since 2000 to be crowned a champion at Catholic States.

In a rematch of his NSCHSAA League Championship match, Sanfilippo defeated a St. John the Baptist opponent, thus crowning him a state champion, too. Sanfilippo had finally won at the state level, as he lost in the State Finals in each of his previous two seasons.

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Michael Sanfilippo ‘21 celebrates his win with the Chaminade coaches.

“The Catholic State Tournament was something I had never experienced before,” explained Sanfilippo. “Winning the tournament as a team was something that I am extremely proud to be a part of. This team as a whole wrestled extremely well, and the hard work and dedication truly paid off. On a personal level, this tournament was even more rewarding. After losing in the finals two years in a row, this is the first opportunity of my wrestling career to wrestle at Public States up in Albany. This next week is all about dedication and fixing some small things for the upcoming Public State Tournament. I am extremely excited for the State Championships this week, and I can’t wait to see where I stand among the best in New York.”

Now, Sanfilippo will enter next season with hopes of becoming the first four-time state finalist for Chaminade since a four-year stretch from 1999-2002.

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The third Public States qualifier, junior Rocco DeMartino, made up for his tough 2019 Catholic States loss, as he was crowned champion of his weight class at the tournament.

“I was very proud of how the team finished this season out,” said DeMartino. “We all worked very hard, and we wanted that title, so no one was going to stop us. We had six league champions and three Catholic State champions, which are numbers that the team hasn’t seen in a very long time. Every single person on the team knew what they had to do and rose to the occasion. For myself, Michael, and Shane, we are continuing to work hard, train for the Public State Championship, and hope to bring back some hardware from Albany!”

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The trio will head up to Albany this weekend for the Public State Championship, which commences on Friday, February 28th, and continues on Saturday, February 29th.

Congratulations to the varsity wrestling team on capturing the state championship. Go Flyers!