It is safe to say that sophomore Tommy Chiellini made immediate impact for this PV wrestling team after serving his 30-day suspension for transferring over from Don Bosco.
His first match of the season came on January 18th against Tenafly, and was PV’s eleventh match. Since then, Chiellini has accumulated 11 wins and zero losses.
Chiellini’s season did not end how many expected it to including Chiellini himself, after he injured his finger during the warmups of Round 1 of the state sectional tournament. Word on the street was that his finger slammed down onto the mat, but Chiellini commented on the diagnosis of it.
“I fractured it at the growth plate and ripped it out [of] the nail bed,” Chiellini said. After PV’s loss to River Dell that night, Chiellini went to get surgery on his finger that same night.
The injury put Chiellini out indefinitely for PV’s last team match and the individual tournaments. Chiellini admitted that he enjoyed the season, but the injury to his finger was a huge blow.
“The season was great and was lots of fun while it lasted,” Chiellini said. “The injury was a freak accident and it’s something that I’m just going to have to live with and begin to prepare for the future.”
Coach Tom Gallione also commented on how he felt about his standout wrestler.
“I felt bad for him [Chiellini]. I know he was gearing up for it, I know he wanted it. I felt bad for him and the way it occurred. You warm up every time before a match. For however long wrestling has gone on, you warm up. It’s just an unfortunate situation.”
After the injury occurs, it can always be hard to live with the pain that comes with it and the hassle it can be to everyday life. But with so little of the season left, Chiellini felt deprived of a good ending to the season.
“It’s been hard to deal with the past few days. Especially having the end of the season so close, it felt like I was stripped of my season and my hard work. But I just have to look at the big picture and that I have two more years to wrestle and complete my goals.”
There can be a lot to learn from a sports injury. For any athlete to have to process that they are forced to sit out their respective sport is never an easy task. Many feel that to get back to where they were, starting their training process over is necessary. Not to mention the time it takes for an injury simply to heal. Chiellini sees this time to sit out a chance to sit back and think about what he can prepare for in the future.
“I think I can learn from this injury. There will always be bumps in the road, but that shouldn’t stop you from achieving your final goal.”
Chiellini also mentioned that his teammates have helped lift his spirits though this tough time, that they’ve been reaching out and giving him support. The season-ending injury aside, Chiellini first season at PV went anything but unnoticed.
And for Chiellini’s coach to watch it all go down this season, he was impressed with what he’s seen from him, including Chiellini’s early days.
“I’ve seen Tommy [Chiellini] wrestle since he was a little kid. He’s a great competitor, he’s very talented. You could see that this year. The 11 or 12 matches that he wrestled, you saw that. It’s hard to practice for a month and not really compete on the mat, and there were a few close matches early. Then you could see once he got more and more relaxed, once he got more and more comfortable, you could see he was turning it on. And it’s just unfortunate that he got the injury the other night.
“But I’m impressed, I’m excited for another two years of him. Two more years of him is going to be a good thing. It’s a nice group and every single kid in our lineup is coming back, and there’s a lot to be said for that.”