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Hudson, St. Anthony's take center stage

Jamel Hudson of St. Anthony's wrestles James Corino

Jamel Hudson of St. Anthony's wrestles James Corino of Kellenberg. Hudson won the match by pin. (Feb. 6, 2011) Credit: Bob Mitchell

The St. Anthony's wrestling team is armed with one of New York's elite rosters, far and away separated from its Long Island Catholic League competition.

So at yesterday's five-team NSCHSAA league tournament, the only question remained: How lopsided would things get?

St. Anthony's won its third straight league title with 457 points, featuring 10 tournament champions. Host Kellenberg won the other five weight classes and finished second with 367 points.

"Overall, our performance here was a great success," said the Friars' 135-pound champion, Jamel Hudson. "This is just getting our blood pumping and ready for the postseason."

The Friars' barrage began early, as Fred Dunau took a 13-2 major decision from teammate Joey Russ at 96 pounds.

But the show began when Hudson won his second straight league crown with a pin at 5:25 over Kellenberg's James Corino.

Hudson is a performer at heart, a singer, dancer and actor who plays a mean blues guitar. He has a Screen Actors Guild card, recently appearing in a national commercial for Staples and in local theater performances of "A Chorus Line" and "Les Misérables."

Hudson is taking a sabbatical from the stage, as he is one of the favorites to win New York's 135-pound title. From November to March, he takes no full-time acting jobs to focus on wrestling.

Still, he remains an actor/musician at his core.

"I'm a much better performer," Hudson said. "When I'm on stage, I can do whatever I want."

He cites Jamie Foxx and Sammy Davis Jr. as his performance idols. Musically, he gravitates toward Prince, saying, "He did it all, and he did it with style and funk."

For now, his sole focus is wrestling and the state championship he expects to bring home. But when asked whether he would rather win a state title or a Tony Award, the performer in Hudson responded.

"I gotta go with the Tony," Hudson said. "I love this sport, but I'm a performer at heart. When I go on the mat, I'm putting on a show."

For Hudson and his Friars teammates, the show has just begun.

The most conspicuous absence Sunday was St. Anthony's 119-pound ace Grant Greene, who will miss the rest of the season because of a concussion. He suffered the injury Jan. 15 at the 5 Counties Tournament in Fountain Valley, Calif., and did not receive clearance by doctors to return.

The Northwestern-bound senior is a two-time state tournament finalist and the 2009 champion at 112 pounds.

"I wanted to be part of a team that wins states, but I still think St. Anthony's is going to win states without me," Greene said.

Greene said he feels better but has been getting minor headaches for the past week.

"It's still hard to take in that I'm done," Greene said. "My career is not over, and I'm still going to wrestle in college.''

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