After an epic showdown during midterm week between the top two public wrestling teams in the city, Central prevailed as the 2015 Philadelphia Public League Wrestling Champions. It was Central’s fourth consecutive PPL Championship appearance, with their last Chip victory in 2013. The 40-25 victory over Northeast not only topped off the team’s undefeated season but also avenged their fall on Northeast’s mat at last year’s championship.
“This year we came back and won it,” Vincent Roscioli (274) and Larry Lewis (274) collectively said. “Everyone did their part, which really helped to bring the team up.”
Seeing that the match took place in the middle of one of Central’s most studious weeks, the large crowd of parents and students who are usually found in the wrestling gym at home matches was not expected. Surprisingly, the bleachers in the main gym, where the special match took place, were filled with fans from both Central and Northeast.
“It [the turnout] was pretty good. It was definitely a lot considering it was midterm week,” Lewis said. The fans mostly consisted of parents, wrestling team alumni and students with cars since the match started at 6 o’clock PM and was not over until after eight.
Many thoughts ran through the mind of, head coach and Central wrestling alum Mr. Jeremy Julien (259), the second his team clinched the win over Northeast. Among excitement over defeating their city rivals and strategizing to beat the Catholic League champs for the District Twelve title, “I was also thinking about 274. They have become a great class and we are going to miss them next season. I’m happy they got to win the championship their senior year.” 274 makes up the majority of the varsity team this season; many of them wrestled under Julien from freshman to senior year.
Coach Julien was sure to accredit part of the victory to his assistant coaches, Lender Vega and Ricardo Robles. “Lender and Ricardo are the main reason that Central wrestling has been able to jump to the next level…coaching wrestling really requires a team of coaches. When they started coaching 3 years ago the team was ready to move up to the next level and with their help it did. They are great coaches and I’m very appreciative of their work.” They both work as coaches for the Police Athletic League (PAL) Wrestling Club at the Rizzo Center in Port Richmond and volunteer as coaches for Central’s team in their free time.
However, the dedication displayed by Vega and Robles and their unfailing presence at each of Central’s matches, tournaments and daily practices makes them appear to be full-time coaches. The coaches’ commitment to hard work along with the athletes’ zeal and desire for revenge after last season’s disappointing loss, drove the Central wrestling team to reclaim the trophy.
Nicole Umeweni (277)