The wait is finally over.
The two Don Bosco transfers are finally getting their first shot on the wrestling mat Wednesday against Tenafly. The match is home at 7 p.m.
The two wrestlers, sophomore Tommy Chiellini and senior Rob Arloro, were forced to sit out the mandatory 30 days per NJSIAA rules as a result of their transfer.
However, they have been practicing with the team (6-3) this whole time, and despite missing the first nine dual meets, they’ve remained dedicated and focused. PV coach Tom Gallione said he expects Chiellini will compete at 138 and Arloro at 145.
"I'm excited. I give these guys a lot of credit. It's hard to to practice for a month and a half. In the [nine] dual meets and the two tournament meets that we've had that they haven't been stepping on that mat, that hasn't changed how hard they practice,” Gallione said, praising their work ethic.
Chiellini and Arloro echoed a similar sentiment.
"It feels great. It feels like I've been working hard all season, been waiting for this for a long time, and the time has finally come and I'm ready to go out there and perform," Chiellini shared.
"It’s definitely exciting,” Arloro added. “But we’re just thinking about the team and how myself and Tommy can help the team do better this season to finish off the season the right way.”
Bosco had a coaching change in the middle of the year, when former head coach Chris Bitetto suddenly resigned. Chiellini said that this affected his decision to move over to PV.
"The decision just felt right. We had a coaching change at Bosco and I wasn't loving it over there. I decided that I was ready to come back home," Chiellini said.
Chiellini is a River Vale native and went to Holdrum Middle School before spending his freshman year at Don Bosco. Chiellini compiled a 21-14 record last season while Arloro compiled a 12-10 record.
Chiellini and Arloro both made it to the Region 2 tournament last year, a tournament that only two PV wrestlers, sophomore Matt Beyer and junior Nolan Shields, made last year.
Arloro, who declined to comment on his reason for his transfer to PV, made it to the preliminary round of the regions in the 138 weight class. Chiellini made it to the quarterfinals in the 120 weight class, defeating Shields in the preliminaries.
"They bring a huge amount of Varsity experience to the lineup. Tommy had experience in the regional tournament last year, Rob did too. Rob's a senior, he's got three years of Varsity experience over at Don Bosco. It'll be huge and it'll ultimately boost up our team points whenever we go up against a higher level team," junior 182-pounder Casey Lewis said .
Gallione believes that Chiellini and Arloro will be slotted in the weight classes of 138, 145, or 152. At those weight classes, PV already has solidified starters in Beyer (138), sophomore Stephen Soravilla (145), and junior Jake Prusha (152).
"They just add more depth to our team," Gallione said. "You're always going to have a few injuries, but having those two in the middle of the lineup just adds depth."
While on the surface it could look more like a logjam, the Indians also now have more flexibility in the middle of the lineup and could strategically move some wrestlers around to gain more favorable matchups.
"[I’ll] probably be at 145 and maybe for some matches at 152, depending on the matchups we want to take advantage of,” Arloro said.
Junior Robbie Natelli went so far as to say that the addition of Chiellini and Arloro would propel PV to its first playoff berth in 11 seasons (see this week’s power point standings broken down from the PV perspective in the most recent post at “PV Mats,” our Smoke Signal wrestling blog).
"I think we're going to be a top fifteen team in North Jersey. I think when they come back we're going to make the state sectional tournament," said Junior Robbie Natelli.