Slapping the mat with SJCA wrestling

Team looks to build on foundation of past champions

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Slapping the mat with SJCA wrestling

The 2019 St. Joseph Catholic Academy wrestling team fourth at regionals.

The 2019 St. Joseph Catholic Academy wrestling team fourth at regionals.

The 2019 St. Joseph Catholic Academy wrestling team fourth at regionals.

The 2019 St. Joseph Catholic Academy wrestling team fourth at regionals.

Patrick Connolly, Challenger editor

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The St. Joseph Catholic Academy wrestling team has perhaps the most impressive sports legacy in school history. Winning state every year from 1961-66 and 1978 plus a runner-up finish in 1967 speaks to the team’s historic achievements. The past established the program’s foundation but since then the team has been on the rebuild. During the past two years, the team can boast of two conference champions and one regional champion but more is expected.

The coaching staff changed last year. Their returning head coach, Larry Kamin, is also the defensive coordinator of the football team. He brought on four coaches from the football team to assist him this year: coaches Williams, Gonzalez, Vassos and Zalokar, all from the football staff.

“I feel confident that my coaching staff will do all that they can for the boys this year in order to have an outstanding year,” said Kamin.

He has also brought on a UW-Parkside wrestling alumni, Joe Foret, as his head assistant. It is safe to say that the coaching staff is stacked going into the year and the boys should get lots of helpful tips from these experienced wrestlers.

“I am very excited about all the coaches this year; it will be nice to hear all of their points of view concerning my game,” said senior captain Brendan Rafferty.

Brendan is one of six returning wrestlers. Others include Danny Vo, Dom Zagra, Noah Davis, Ryan Papoure, Ben Franklin and Nathan Mullen. The team will definitely have experience but will they be acclimated to all the new coaches by the time the season starts? The answer is yes! Three of the returning players played football with all of these coaches and Vassos ran the weight room all year long so everyone knows him. There are high expectations for the team this year with experience on both sides of the mat. History may indeed repeat itself if the program continues to grow under the leadership of new coaches and enthusiastic grapplers.