NEWARK, NJ--After a 4-year hiatus from coaching high school wrestling, Frank DiPiano has returned to the mat. And while he's coaching at a 'new' school, he's quite familiar with the tradition that is St. Benedict's Prep wrestling.
DiPiano had taken an administrative position at St. Benedict's, his alma mater, in the fall of 2015, which necessitated his moving on from coaching wrestling, at Nutley High School. DiPiano had enjoyed a marvelous wrestling career at St. Benedict's, where his father, the legendary Michael DiPiano Sr., had coached and later served as an athletic director. Frank's older brother, Michael, also had a lot of success at St. Benedict's as a student-athlete, and later as a coach and administrator. Michael Sr., Michael Jr and Frank are all members of the St. Benedict's Hall of Fame.
Read more on Michael DiPiano Sr., here. Michael DiPiano, Sr. has the ride of a lifetime at the 2020 Rose Bowl Parade
Frank DiPiano had enjoyed a tremendous run as Nutley High's head coach, for over a decade, beginning in 2004. He led the program to four straight District 14 championships, as well as a pair of Essex County Tournament titles and an appearance in the sectional final, in 2015. He also took the team to the Beast of the East Tournament, which is considered the top pre-season tournament, in the country.
Frank's wrestlers at Nutley had gone on to win numerous district and region championships, as well as earning medals at the NJSIAA championships at Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City.
DiPiano garnered multiple coach of the year accolades while at Nutley, in both District 14 and Region 4. He was also a past president of Region 4.
Frank admitted he missed coaching and this fall, took on the additional responsibility of coaching at St. Benedict's Prep. And the Gray Bees are off to a tremendous start this season, with four tournament titles in the early going.
"It's been going great," said DiPiano, who had been helping out with the program the past few years. "The kids are working hard and I'm really enjoying it. I'm proud of what the kids are doing and I know we can continue to get better."
St. Benedict's was 4-0 in dual matches through Jan. 5 and won three of its tournaments in an 8-day period.
"I don’t think we wrestled well at all, at the Caldwell tournament, but we rebounded and won three tournaments in eight days," said the coach.
The roster features sophomores Jakub Jandura (106 pounds), Mike Holleran (113), Andrew D'Arcy (120) and Tinashe Maphosa (132), juniors Jaden Boulware (120), Jonathan Feola (152), Reuben Kadushin (182) and Sekou Diabate (285) and seniors Matt Ryan (138), Angel Castillo (138), Felix Clayton (145), Damon Wright (152), Ibrahim Mendheim (160), Anthony Augustin (170), Fawzi Oladejo (182), Stanley Alexandre (195), Cesar Espinal (220) and Moses Fenelus (285).
"Ibrahim Mendheim, at 160 pounds, has been named outstanding wrestler in two tournaments this season, and was a Prep All-American in 2018," said DiPiano. "He suffered an injury in warm ups last season as the third seed and attempted to compete, but went 0-2. So he is out with some things to prove.'
St. Benedict's won tournaments at Staten Island, West Orange and Parsippany in the early going of the 2019-2020 season.
"For the third tournament in a row, everyone on our team won at least one match," said DiPiano. "That's huge for team points in a tournament setting. We are getting better each time out on the mat. We have a bit of the sick bug going through the room, and guys really showed some grit and fought through (at Staten Island, on Jan. 4).
"Our team left it all on the mat and wrestled hard.'
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