Wrestling practices at Monsignor Farrell are intense. Need an example? Check out Rich Sisti’s left eye.
The sophomore sensation needed stitches to close a gash above his eye not after another tough dual meet, but following a scrum with senior Casey Redmond in Farrell’s wrestling room.
“The work that we do in the room is definitely paying off right now,” Redmond said.
That much was evident Wednesday night when the Lions knocked off perennial New Jersey powerhouse St. Benedict’s, 57-20, in Oakwood.
It was a surprisingly one-sided victory for Farrell, which came off a 5-0 performance Saturday in the CHSAA City Crossover Duals at Iona Prep.
“It’s a good win,” Farrell coach Lou DeStefano said. “I didn’t think it would be as lopsided, but we’ll take every win we can get. St. Benedict’s is a good program and they’re going to be back up again in another year or two right after us.”
A year ago, the Gray Bees downed Farrell by 12 points. Redmond could only watch, sidelined with a foot injury. But on Wednesday, on his 17th birthday, Redmond made short work of sophomore David Zola, earning a 47-second pin.
His victory at 220 pounds came after an epic 6-1 win by Sisti over Eli Feliciano in a match that saw Farrell’s sophomore need an injury timeout to attend to a bruised eye that was rapidly closing.
“I was really pumped, I was ready to go,” Redmond said. “That definitely got me in the mood.”
A year ago, Feliciano, who won the Kearney Invitational over the weekend, pinned Sisti, but he earned a measure of revenge and provided a source of inspiration to his teammates.
“He’s an animal, he would wrestle no matter what,” senior Paul Schianodicola said of Sisti. “That’s the type of competitor he is.”
Schianodicola also pulled off a solid victory at 132 pounds, pinning sophomore Cinque Casey-Patrick at 1:10.
“I’ve seen him before, knew he was a good wrestler and I saw an opportunity and I just took it,” Schianodicola said. “Fortunately, I ended it in the first period.”
Schianodicola was one of several seniors competing in their final home dual meet. Standout Rrok Ndokaj was another. A year after losing his bout to St. Benedict’s, he defeated junior Stephon McDonald, 13-3, at 182 pounds.
“This was huge. It’s kind of indescribable,” Ndokaj said. “I’m just proud of myself. I can leave this place with a win in my last dual meet here.”
The Monsignor Farrell season, though, is far from over. The Lions are seven-time CHSAA city champions and ranked No. 1 in New York City by MSG Varsity. But St. Anthony’s (LI) has won back-to-back CHSAA state titles and with that competition in Oakwood this year, the Lions have their eyes on the ultimate prize.
A big non-league win against St. Benedict’s gives the Lions reason to believe they’ll be in the mix come February.
“It’s a really good win for Farrell,” Redmond said. “It puts us up there with a lot of good schools. That’s where we want to be.”
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