After consecutive 11-1 seasons and a Blue Hen Flight B Championship in 2012, the St. Georges Tech wrestling squad has been named “Team of the Year.”
The Middletown Transcript caught up with Head Coach Nate Pelligrini to talk about the past season and what lies ahead for the Hawks.
Pelligrini has been there from the beginning, helping found the squad back in 2007 when St. Georges Tech opened. Pelligrini and the rest of his staff had a tough job ahead of them, as they had to build the wrestling program from the ground up, literally.
“At the beginning we just had a JV squad,” said Pelligrini. “We couldn’t field a Varsity team due to the rules for the first two years.”
However, only five years later Pelligrini has helped turn St. Georges Tech into one of the top programs in the Blue Hen Conference. Not only did the Seahawks capture the Blue Hen Flight B Championship but they also finished 2nd overall in the State.
Pelligrini attributes the program’s success to the hard work and commitment from his wrestlers and coaching staff.
“I think as a whole the kids worked hard and showed a solid work ethic,” Pelligrini said. “We are lucky to have an excellent coaching staff; my assistant coaches have been awesome.”
Part of building any successful program depends upon the support it garners from the school’s community. Pelligrini gave credit to the school’s students and parents for helping build St. Georges Tech into a winner.
“We have great parents that have been really supportive,” Pelligrini said. “It really helps the kids give full effort and commit to a sport that isn’t easy.”
Commitment is key to success in sports at any level, the same goes for high school wrestling. Over the past few seasons it’s become obvious just how committed the St. Georges Tech wrestling program has become.
“A lot of kids aren’t willing to put forth the kind of effort it takes to succeed at this sport,” said Pelligrini. “We’ve found kids that want to put the work in, and they’re really starting to eat that up now. They know what it takes to be good wrestlers and the atmosphere around the program has just been great. Top to bottom, it’s the kids committing to the program from JV to Varsity.”
Heading into next season St. Georges Tech will come upon another obstacle. They will lose seniors Nicholas Dooley, Christopher Mansfield, Billy Matarese, Robert Ward and Eric Catts, all of whom had a great impact on the program. Though, Pelligrini isn’t concerned, he and his staff are confident in the group they have coming up.
“We have a real great crew coming up this next season,” said Pelligrini. “I’m not worried at all about the possible lack of seniors. We finally have the depth that I’ve always wanted; I think we’re going to be a real strong team with some new kids coming in who are going to do a good job for us. The group we have coming back has really bought into the goals that we have moving forward. They’re a group of kids who have a true love for the sport.”
Page 2 of 2 - Pelligrini is confident his squad can duplicate last season, with or without seniors. Juniors Michael Albanese, Marquise Woody, Austin Walker and Rocco Hladney are just a few of the wrestlers Pelligrini is looking to step up for the program next season.
“We had some guys come up to Penn State for a wrestling camp and they’ve all been working hard,” said Pelligrini. “I think all of those guys can make a big impact for us next year.”