Green Wave Wrestling Wins State Championship

Breaks 9-Year Streak for Bergen Catholic


Peter Gajewski, Section Editor

This past week has brought great success for the wrestling team. On Wednesday, February 12th, Delbarton defeated Bergen Catholic and ended their 8-year winning streak against NJSIAA opponents. This match brought some of the best fan energy seen at a Delbarton sporting event this year. Tickets sold out online in 30 seconds; everybody wanted a piece of the action. Delbarton was ready for war and they were facing a team that had not lost for 96 consecutive matches. The night brought action and emotion. Some memorable moments were Nico Nardone defeating the #3 wrestler in the nation and #1 in the state in his weight class, Robbie Howard. This victory was hard-fought and surely won. Nardone noted that, “It was about believing in myself.” Another exciting moment came when Joey Davi, a freshman, defeated three-time state medalist Nick Kayal, a senior who will wrestle at Princeton next year. The night was, as Dante Stefanelli described it, “electric.” 

This 45-12 victory allowed Delbarton to advance to the NJ Non-Public A North championship against St. Joeseph’s (Montvale). With a decisive 49-15 victory against St. Joeseph’s, Delbarton was able to move on to the Non-Public A State Championship for the first time since 2011 against St. Augustine.

When the time came for Delbarton to compete for its second wrestling state championship, our wrestlers stepped up to the plate. The match began with a quick 12-0 lead with Liam Grey and PJ Casale winning by forfeit. The team would then go on to win the next matches without losing a single point. Every wrestler gave it their all in order to maintain a strong lead over St. Augustine. 

A very memorable moment during the match came when Luke Chakonis, #1 in his weight class in the state, faced Mike Misita, #2 in the state. After starting the match down 2-0, Chakonis fought back to a 4-4 tie in the third period. In a movie shot finish, Misita fell to his back while trying to drop Chakonis with a leg sweep. Luke Chakonis dove after Misita for the take-down and was able to knock Misita to the mat while maintaining control. This gave provided Chakonis with a 6-4 victory. He later commented, saying that “This means everything to us. It’s just a surreal experience knowing it was nine years since we won. It means so much to get that back and be on top.” 

Every wrestler gave it their all that night. Coach Stoll commented after the match, noting that, “At the end of the day, it’s all about the kids, but it’s also for all of our alumni that have wrestled for us through the years, our student body, our administration – everybody that’s been so supportive of us. This is really for them. I’m glad this group of kids was able to get this experience because it was easily one of the most incredible weeks of my life. It’s such a special group of kids.”