Mick Brown of St Anthony's during the LI CHSAA league...

Mick Brown of St Anthony's during the LI CHSAA league wrestling championships on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022. Credit: Howard Simmons

There was a confidence the St. Anthony’s wrestling team carried with them to the CHSAA state tournament Sunday at St. Mary’s in Lancaster after another dominant performance at the league championships last weekend.

But Friars head coach Tony Walters’ belief in this group began way before that.

"Not that I’m a psychic or anything but we knew four years ago that this group of kids was special because of how coachable they are," Walter said. "Everybody put in the effort and they became brothers in arms and we knew they’d do well."

And do well they did, as the Friars won five individual state championships and placed two other wrestlers in the finals.

"The kids wrestled a great tournament and we had all 18 of our guys get past the first round," Walters said. "It was a good day."

The Friars got off to a great start in the finals when freshman Jacob Kenendy pulled off a 4-2 win in sudden victory at 102-pounds against Chaminade’s Niason DaCosta.

"It was a phenomenal match that came right down to the end," Walters said. "It was the third time they’ve wrestled this season and Jacob pulled it out. He’s a kid that came to us with a lot of talent and we’ve been giving him everything he needs to be even more successful."

St. Anthony’s had a strong run in the middleweights, with finalists in all five matches between 138 and 172 pounds.

Mick Brown won a thriller, 5-3 in sudden victory at 138-pounds over Eric Grant of Iona Prep. Jake Podolsky and Dominic Seminera fell just short of state titles at 145 and 152, respectively, before Frankie Theroux (160) and Griffin Goldstein (172) each won their second straight state title.

Andrew Bardak capped it off for the Friars by defending his championship at 215 pounds, defeating Bryanden Vandenberg for a second straight year, this time in a 7-6 decision that came down to the wire.

"He had to get a takedown late and was able to ride him out," Walters said. "Andrew stands out in everything he does, he’s one of those kids you wish you had 40 of. In the end his conditioning won out."

The Friars captured the team championship with 324.5 points and Kellenberg was second with 242, led by champion Ryan Paladino at 132-pounds and finalists Brendan Martin (126), Jack Ligarzewski (172) and Dylan Page (285). Chaminade finished fourth with 176.5 behind champion Claudio Pinto at 189 and finalists DaCosta and Shane Meenaghan (118). St. John the Baptist’s William Casey was Long Island’s only other finalist, finishing second at 110.

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