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May 01, 2017

Holmdel Wrestlers Claim District Titles

By Les Pierce

Scott Dupont – 152-pound champion

It was just one year ago that Garrett Hilsheimer became the first Holmdel wrestler to win a District championship in 18 years, bridging the gap to Craig Weindorf’s title victory in 1998.  Hilsheimer ended the drought, but this season the floodgates opened as three Hornet wrestlers, Dean Gallo, Scott Dupont, and Chris Ammirati, claimed District 20 championships.

Chris Ammirati – 160-pound champion

Senior Chris Ammirati breezed through the 160-pound brackets with a pair of falls in the early rounds. He pinned Matawan’s Salvatore Castelli in the second period at 3:00. It took just 33 seconds for Chris to end the semifinal with Luis Colon of Perth Amboy. He then faced Monroe’s Nicholas Weikel in the final. Ammirati took Weikel down to the mat for two points in the first 30 seconds. From there, he took full control of the match for a 4-2 decision.

Earlier in the campaign, the Hornet senior notched his 100th career victory with a win on February 11 versus Vernon. He is one of four wrestlers in Holmdel High School history to reach the 100-career-win milestone. Chris is the eldest of three Ammirati brothers on the squad, joined by Thomas and Nicholas on the roster. Coach Danny Franke said of Chris, “It was great seeing him go out with a district title. He is the definition of a program kid. Chris doesn’t go to wrestling clubs like some of the other guys. He just works hard every single day in our wrestling room and is a self-motivated athlete. He got to close it out with a district title; you cannot ask for much more.”

Dean Gallo – 138-pound champion

Dean Gallo picked up 28 wins as a freshman last year and his performances this season earned him a number two seed in the 138-pound bracket. He started his run to the final by pinning Bishop Ahr’s Giuseppe Capasso at 3:47 in the quarterfinal. A 9-3 decision over Michael Lopez of Perth Amboy earned him a ticket to the title match. In the final, Raritan’s Andrew Bohal scored on an escape and led 1-0 going into the closing moments. Then, with 25 seconds remaining, Gallo got a reversal on the edge to win by a 2-1 score in what was arguably the most exciting championship match of the tournament. Coach Franke stated of Gallo, “Dean is just a tough kid. He wrestled smart and went out to win instead of not to lose. It makes a big difference, and knowing he is just a sophomore, I’m excited for what’s to come. To be a district champion with two years left, that’s exciting.”

Scott Dupont claimed a silver medal at the Districts last year, but that would not be good enough this time. In the semifinal bout, he racked up a 15-0 advantage over Kyle Comerford of Monroe, causing a halt at 5:14 on a technical fall. He met Raritan’s Anthony Aquilano in the final, took control immediately, and moved onto a businesslike 8-4 decision victory to secure the 152-pound title.

It’s been a banner year for Dupont. In addition to the District crown, he broke the Holmdel school record for wins on a season, with 39. He also reached the career 100-win milestone and finished the year with 104 wins, tied for second with Jim Ilvento on the Holmdel all-time win list. Dupont is a junior and will return next year with the prospect of breaking Troy Gallo’s career win school record of 121. Coach Franke said of Dupont, “Scott is one of, if not the, most talented kid Holmdel wrestling has ever seen. He was the one District winner that we knew it was his to lose. That was just one step for him as a junior. But he is the type of kid that has much bigger goals, like a medal down in Atlantic City, and that’s what we are really striving for with Scotty.”

Overall, the Holmdel program has advanced significantly under six-year coach Danny Franke. This season, a school record of 19 team victories was established and the Hornets qualified for the Shore Conference Tournament for the first time in school history. With a pair of District champions returning in 2018, it appears the best is yet to come.