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Lions Sports

Staten Island Advance CHSAA Wresling Preview

Posted Thursday, December 03, 2009 by Dan Oleary

Farrell looking to capitalize on experience

, November 28, 2009 1:25 p.m.

Farrell will look to senior Ben Villaret, a two-time state champ, to set the tone. - (Staten Island Advance file photo by Bill Lyons)
The CHSAA wrestling season kicks off today with the big issue being how Monsignor Farrell can top its 2008-09 campaign.

Last season included a Catholic city and state championship and wins at the Staten Island Duals, the Dave Ironman Invitational and the Mayor's Cup.

Matching that won't be easy for the Lions. Gone are Advance All-Stars Connor Hanafee, Kevin Hartnett, Christian Psomas, Tim Monaghan and Catholic state champ Antonio Sparaco from the team that ended Farrell's 19-year drought in the states.

Still, the Lions return a dynamic duo of seniors - Ben Villaret, a two-time state champ, and Tony Carlo, a state champ - and a crop of experienced underclassmen who have big aspirations on and off Staten Island.

"This is a younger team now, so we're just trying to feel everybody out," said Lions coach Lou DeStefano. "As far as the CHSAA, we're trying to defend our city title again and, preseason, we are ranked No. 2 behind St. Anthony's."

Hoping to stand in the Lions' way locally are St. Joseph by-the-Sea and St. Peter's.

Both squads are deep, with the Vikings led by seniors Anthony Castano, who was fourth at the Catholic States, John Lobo and Mike Olgiati.

The Eagles return senior standouts Tom Kenders and Ed Berry this season.

MONSIGNOR FARRELL
Head coach: Lou DeStefano, fifth season
Assistant coaches: Rob Pavis and Phil Squatrito (varsity), Joe DiForte and Pete Hamm (JV)

Key returnees: Paul DiStefano (So., 103), Paul Schianodicola (So., 112), Marc Pirozzi (Sr., 119), Vin Fischetti (Jr., 125), Joe Francolino (Jr., 130), Tim McCann (So., 135), Gunnar Rufo (Jr., 140), Tony Carlo (Sr., 152), Ben Villaret (Sr., 160), Casey Redmond (So., 171), Rrok Ndokaj (Sr., 189), Nick Ricco (Sr., 215)

Top newcomers: Blaise Rufo (Fr., 96), Chris Amendola (Fr., 96), Paul Hartnett (119, So.), Will Wilson (Fr., 125), Andrew Psomas (Fr., 145), Matt Roberts (Fr., 171), James Strusinski (So., 285)

Coach's outlook: "We're definitely younger this year," said DeStefano. "But Carlo and Villaret are returning state champions and we're counting on those guys to drive the room and drive the team. We have nine or 10 guys to work in so I'm expecting some growing pains, but I still think we can be successful."

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