Nassau Community College's 2013 men’s wrestling team, which is coached by Wantagh resident Paul Schmidt, captured its second consecutive national championship Feb. 24-25 at the National Junior College Athletic Association(NJCAA) champion wrestling tournament in Iowa.
Wrestlers also won individual awards at the successful weekend tournament, including four who reached the finals (the most in the college's history), six who were named NJCAA All-Americans and seven who made the NJCAA All-Academic team.
“Repeating as champions is great,” Coach Schmidt said, “but what made it particularly satisfying this year was that we had to take on not only other schools but also the adversity brought on by Superstorm Sandy and the blizzard that affected our training schedule and facilities.”
Three wrestlers on the team from neighboring Levittown played an important role in the team's success: John Pellegrino, who took home second place in the 125 lb. class and was named Academic All-American, Yaseen Mudassar who took second in the 285 lb. class and is a two-time NJCAA All-American, and Juan Diaz, who was named a Academic All-American.
“The guys were really resilient and handled every adversity thrown at them," Schmidt said. "At the end, I was very proud of all of them when they held the National Trophy up high."
125 lbs. - John Pellegrino, 2nd place
141 lbs. - James DeKrone NJCAA 2013 national champion (NCC’s 11th national champion)
149 lbs. - Kyle Wade sixth place and NJCAA 2013 Sportsmanship Award
174 lbs. - Chanse Menendez 2nd place
197 lbs. - Ian MacInheirghe 7th place
285 lbs. - Yaseen Mudassar 2nd place and two-time NJCAA All American
“This team simply was not going to be denied,” NCC’s acting president Kenneth Saunders said. “It took on the competition. It took on the elements. And it took home the championship to NCC. We could not be more proud.”