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Brian Kelly defeats good friend in LI CHSAA wrestling championships

Brian Kelly of St. Anthony's, right, and Jason

Brian Kelly of St. Anthony's, right, and Jason Javier of Kellenberg stand at the podium after the NSCHSAA wrestling championships at Kellenberg High School on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. Kelly took first-place at 113 pounds while Javier finished in second. Credit: James Escher

Brian Kelly stepped onto the wrestling mat Sunday and shook hands with a good friend, one he has trained with in the year since they won CHSAA state titles in their former weight classes.

From the second his 113-pound Long Island CHSAA championship bout with Kellenberg's Jason Javier began, the friendship was cast aside. Kelly, a St. Anthony's sophomore, won on a pin in 1:59.

"It's wrestling," Kelly said. "You've got to [go against a] friend sometimes, but you've got to do what you've got to do."

Kelly, who won CHSAA states last year at 99 pounds, was named most outstanding wrestler while helping St. Anthony's to a league title at Kellenberg. The Friars finished with 409.5 points. Chaminade took second with 355, and Kellenberg was third with 316.5.

Kelly said he had been slumping until last week, when St. Anthony's participated in a tournament in Connecticut.

"I went up there and pinned my first two kids and then won 8-1 in the finals," Kelly said. "I felt loose. I felt like my old self. My coach [Tony Walters] said, 'just come out here today and wrestle like that,' and I did."

Javier, who won states last year at 106 pounds, might exact revenge next weekend. His runner-up finish secured him a spot in the state tournament at Monsignor Farrell in Staten Island.

"[Kelly's] a great wrestler, and I'll see him at the [state] semis," Javier said. "Hopefully, the outcome is different. Win or lose, though, he's a great wrestler, so nothing to be ashamed of."

Kelly said he values his and Javier's relationship as friends and training partners. He just did what he had to do on the mat.

"I wish [Javier] the best of luck," Kelly said. "He's still a junior this year, so I'm sure we're going to [go against each other] next year. He's a great wrestler. He got so much better in the offseason. I hope we could still work together and both get better."

St. Anthony's Dominik DiBenedetto (99), Benjamin Lamantia (126), Andrew Szilagyi (145), Kyle Buser (170), Russell Kohler (182), Peter Corbett (195) and Nicholas Fortini (285) won their weight classes, as did Chaminade's Joe Boccardo (120), Christian Briody (138) and John Coughlan (220).

Anthony Bartolotta (106) and Joseph Moscato (132) won for Kellenberg. Holy Trinity's Lorenzo Gisonda (152) and St. John the Baptist's Keith Brown (160) also took titles.

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