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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Nonnewaug Wrestling Team Wins Third Straight BL Championship

Julianna Bellagamba
Nonnewaug’s Durkin Stankevich, right, sizes up his opponent Feb. 7 against Derby/Oxford/Holy Cross. Stankevich won by points.

WOODBURY — Championship season is here for the Nonnewaug wrestling team, and the Chiefs lived up to last year’s standards, taking home a third straight Berkshire League championship. 

Last year’s team set high standards for this year’s group. As a sophomore last year, Jeff Bernardi won his weight class in the BL, placed fifth in Class S, and proceeded to go on to the State Open.

Only getting better, Bernardi has upped his game this winter. He finished second at 157 pounds in the league tournament — the Chiefs also finished second as a team, but they won the league title based on an undefeated regular-season record against BL teams — and is one of the top seeds in his weight class in Class S on Feb. 16-17.

Bernardi reflected on the Chiefs’ success of this season.

“The team has improved greatly,” said Bernardi. “My freshman year, we had a pretty strong team but most of the strength came from last year’s senior, Jack Wendel. When he left, our teammates had to step up and fill that role. We’ve really stepped up and improved our matches.”

Bernardi said that improvement makes this year’s championship especially satisfying.

“It feels pretty good to be the regular-season BL champs knowing that we can go head to head with these great schools and come out on top and ahead of all of them,” says Bernardi. “At the tournament, Coach [John] Lawless said, ‘Trophies collect dust, but banners hang for everyone to see,’ so it feels great to have the banner. It does hurt a little that we came out only losing by three points at the tournament, but that means we get to come back harder next season to be prepared for the duals and everything.”

Julian Ocasio, a freshman at NHS, said he hopes to be just like Bernardi in his following years. 

“He’s really good and I like how he wrestles,” says Ocasio. “He’s really strong and really fast and knows a lot of stuff. He has good technique. I really look up to him and look forward to having him as a captain next year.”

Durkin Stankevich (144 pounds) and Jackson Krajeski (165) won individual championships at the BL tournament. Cash Medonis (106), Alex Krajeski (113), Joey Bernardi (132), Collin Wilmot (150), Bernardi (157), and James Mahon (175) were runners-up in their weight classes.

Dave Green, Nonnewaug’s head coach, is happy with his team’s growth this winter, even though there’s always room for improvement among the group.

“If you looked at our [overall record, it’s about .500, and I would say that’s pretty good,” said Green. “It’s not great, it’s not terrible, but the team has been getting better each week. If you look at it that way, then we’re doing the right stuff.”

But the wrestling team isn’t just about the boys; Indigo Kimball, Te Andre La Beach, and Eliana Cooper are all part of the wrestling team, too.

Kimball, a freshman, feels as though she has a lot to prove being one of few girls on the team. She finished fourth in the BL at 126 pounds.

“To an extent, yes, there’s intimidation,” said Kimball. “All the boys are very visibly stronger than me, so it’s a bit of a struggle. Just being a freshman, there’s a lot to prove to the team, and being one of the only girls on the team creates more pressure. Other than that, it’s fine and all the boys are very welcoming.”

About the Contributors
Deme Jones '26
Deme Jones '26, Reporter
Deme Jones is a sophomore at Nonnewaug High School who writes for the NHS Chief Advocate. This is her first year as a writer for Chief Advocate, and she hopes for a great year filled with many well-written pieces. Demetra enjoys her sports - lacrosse and field hockey -- and hopes to play in the future.
Julianna Bellagamba
Julianna Bellagamba, Senior Editor
Julianna Bellagamba is a senior at Nonnewaug High School and writes for the NHS Chief Advocate. She does cross country and track. As a senior editor, Julianna enjoys writing about campus activities and sports.
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