Jack Barkley and the Kellenberg wrestling team won when it mattered most.
Barkley, a sophomore who wrestles at 138 pounds, pinned all four of his opponents on Sunday as Kellenberg earned its first Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA league tournament title since 2007.
Kellenberg tied St. Anthony’s and Chaminade for the league dual-meet title this season.
Barkley earned an individual title after missing the podium at last year’s championship. “It feels good to see my progress,” he said. “I’m excited for the rest of my career.”
Barkley is one of several sophomores who helped Kellenberg total 407.5 points. Host Chaminade was second at 363.5.
Kellenberg coach Joe Fiore said his Firebirds began training for this season last March. He said his group bought into weightlifting at 6 a.m. and wrestled hard throughout the offseason. “All of that work, going back to March, is how we got the results today,” he said. “It pays off.”
Dylan Page (285) had a pin in 1:01 as Kellenberg’s only other individual champion.
Chaminade celebrated four individual champions, including 118-pound winner Shane Meenaghan (26-0).
St. Anthony’s placed third with 284 points and boasted seven individual champions, the most of any school.
Joshua Jorgge registered a pin at 145 pounds and began a five-match winning streak for the Friars. Jeremy Meehan added a pin at 160 pounds and Griffin Goldstein had a pin at 189 pounds for the Friars. “To get the pin at the end was the perfect way to end the league tournament,” Meehan said.
“The job’s not done yet,” Jorgge added. “The big thing is states. I’m looking forward to that.”
St. Anthony’s will host the Catholic League state tournament next Sunday. The Friars graduated a handful of contributors from last year’s NSCHSAA league tournament title team and entered only 16 wrestlers in Sunday’s championship.
“We’re all about quality, not quantity,” St. Anthony’s coach Tony Walters said. “We came in and realized we’re not here to win the tournament. We’re here to qualify as many as we can for next week.”
Of the eight St. Anthony’s wrestlers who reached the finals, Kellenberg’s Barkley handed the Friars their only loss.
Said Fiore, “I told Jack last year when he didn’t even qualify for states, I said, ‘Jack, you can come back here and win this tournament.’ Hopefully he does that again next week.”