CHSAA Preview: Friars Poised to Regain Crown For First Time Since 2002

When you think of the wrestling program at Chaminade High School, one word always comes to mind, depth…When I went to school there, among the freshman, junior varsity, and varsity levels, there must have been upwards of 150 young men actively involved in the sport. The result of this unequaled turnout is that hardly is there a year when the Flyers are not able to field a team that has two, three, or perhaps in some years, four quality wrestlers at a given weight class…With the CHSAA electing to keep the same scoring format as last season (highest scorer per weight), it is this depth that may very well make it impossible to know which members of the Crimson & Gold will be the ones doing the damage in assisting Dlugolonski et al. in their goal to take back the title that up until last year had been a mainstay on their campus….Leading the charge will be returning Catholic State Champions, 140-pound Troy Sampson (1st @125; 4th @125; 2nd @119) and 215-pounder Brendan Fowler (1st @215; 5th @215 ’07). Hailing from what some call the greatest family in Flyer wrestling history, Sampson is the son of a former 4x Champion, John Sampson, as well as the cousin of former 3xer Andrew Sampson. Therefore, with a repeat performance of last year’s title winning effort, the youngest of the breed will have successfully solidified his place at the dinner table at family reunions…Fowler, who came one win short of placing at the NYS tournament last season, is regarded as Chaminade’s best chance to earn their first federation placewinner since John Witzenbocker accomplished the feat in 2002. Ranked in the top-8 in the state by most media outlets, Fowler is expected to breeze through the Catholic State tournament, much like he did in 2009 when he outscored his opponents 49-4 (not including a :23 pin that he recorded in the CHSAA State quarterfinals)…Complimenting Sampson and Fowler in 2010 will be returning Catholic State placewinners 112-pound Bobby Wallace (4th @96), Dave Ironman candidate (given to wrestlers who place all four years at the CHSAA State tournament) 119- Glenn McKenna (6th @112; 3rd @96; 5th @96), 171-pounder Andrew de Lannoy (4th @171), 125-pounder Jon Faglione (6th @96 ’08), 130-pouner Mike Jones (6th @112 ’08), and 130-pounder Matt Sagan (6th @130)…Additional key names to remember include: 103- Peter Rooney, 119- Jon Anderson, 125- Declan Gray, 135- Tim Gilbert, 135- Evan Doherty, and 145- Robert Chisena…The top newcomer for the Flyers will be 2009 NYS Schoolboy State Champion, 189-pounder Danny Fowler.

Sitting in our #4 spot will be the Firebirds of Kellenberg Memorial High School…Returning five All-Catholic wrestlers from last season, KMHS has the potential to rise up and surprise a lot of people if teams sleep on them. Much like all of the teams the proceeded them on this list, the Firebirds are a squad that possesses significant depth, with at least 10 wrestlers in the line-up who are capable of pulling some upsets and making some noise. Championing the Firebird fight will be Kellenberg’s highest returning Catholic State placewinner from ’09, 145-pounder Anthony Alesandro, who placed 3rd last season at 135-pounds. Finishing directly behind him was teammate Pat Healy who will go at 140-pounds this season to avoid the possibility of deja vu. Also prominent among the returning starters are 96-pounder Pat Skinner (5th @96), 119-pounder Zach Indovino (6th @103), and 171-pounder Tom Re (6th @ 160)…Representing the second line of attack for Coach Alfalla’s team will be: 130- James Sullivan, 135- James Corino, 160- Joe Sgro, and 189- Greg Kropp…Ranked as the #4 wrestlers at 96-pounds, freshman Lawrence Vacchio is the top newcomer for the Uniondale based school.

When responding to my request for information, Coach Hamilton from St. Joe’s Collegiate mentioned that his 2010 team could feature up to nine new faces. For many coaches, the lack of experience would be a cause of concern. However, I get the feeling that Hamilton is embracing the challenge. Commenting on the overall complexion of the program, the man in charge said this, “We’re moving in the right direction. We are young, but have some firepower. We have 40 kids on our roster, started our camps for middle schoolers four years ago, and started a kids club last year.” A successful feeder program? For you CHSAA historians out there, you may remember that is was the establishments of a youth wrestling club that helped Monsignor Farrell reverse its fortunes and transform itself into the championship program that it is today. Therefore, it is not in the least bit far fetched to envision the Marauder coach and his staff enjoying the same level of future success…In the meantime, while Hamilton waits on the next generation of studs, he will place a lot of weight on the polished wrestlers that he does have. Among the more experienced wrestlers on the SJC roster are a quarter of returning CHSAA State placewinners. Headlining this list is 2009 Catholic State runner-up, heavyweight Jack Cambria, who is a two-time placewinner, having finished sixth at the same weight as a freshman. Joining Cambria as compromising the nucleus of the team will be another two-time placewinner, 189-pounder Tyler Beresford (3rd @189; 6th @171), 125-pounder Pat Mang (6th @125), and 152-pounder, Brian Harper (6th @152)….Mang is currently out with an injury and it is still too early to know if he will be able to return this season. We wish him a very speedy full recovery.

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