Varsity Wrestling Concludes Season with National Champ

As the winter sports season drew to a close over the past month, the Belmont Hill wrestling team competed in three tournaments: Graves-Kelsey (ISLs), New England’s, and finally Prep Nationals. At Graves-Kelsey, Belmont Hill, with a complete lineup of fourteen wrestlers, cruised to victory for the second year in a row. Of Belmont Hill’s wrestlers, six, Hamza Shemsu, Seth Israel, Phil Conigliaro, Luca Pontone, Will Ryan, and Michael Glauninger, took first, three, Matthew Smith, Colin Vallis, and Shane Rockett, took second, Henry Griffin took fourth, and two, Ryan Williams and Owen Grady, took fifth. In addition, Phil Conigliaro was deemed the outstanding wrestler of the tournament. After an easy win in the ISL, the 12 wrestlers who qualified for New England’s (those with either a .667 winning percentage in the regular season or at least a fourth place finish at ISLs) readied themselves to defend their title from 2016. With many highly seeded wrestlers, the team fought valiantly, but the squad was defeated by Exeter, securing second place over Northfield Mount Hermon by a margin of one point. Phil Conigliaro took first, two, Will Ryan and Luca Pontone, took second, Colin Vallis took third, two, Seth Israel and Hamza Shemsu, took fourth, Matthew Smith took sixth, Shane Rockett took seventh, and Michael Glauninger took eighth. After this impressive outcome, the seven wrestlers who qualified for Nationals, those who placed at least sixth at New England’s, prepared to wrestle on the biggest stage. The team journeyed out to Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on a Thursday afternoon. The next day, wrestlers weighed in, facing off with the likes of Blair Academy’s and Wyoming Seminary’s best to try to move on to the next day. Ultimately, only Phil Conigliaro would make the finals, winning 1-0 in the finals against a wrestler from Benedictine. Congratulations to the team, coaches, and staff for an excellent season!

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