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Basketball team continues its winning ways in regular season action
Track and field team competes in national qualifier at NYC Armory

Feb. 25, 2017

The Gray Bees wrapped up action in the two-day National Prep Wrestling Championships at Lehigh University on Saturday and came home with four All-Americans and a ninth-place finish in the team standings.

The ninth-place effort for St. Benedict's is its first in the top 10 on the national stage since a seventh-place effort in 2011.

"This team really gave it their all," said St. Benedict's coach Omar Feliciano. "Some kids are disappointed, feeling they could have done better. But these are life lessons - you have to go out and get it, earn it, and fight for it. You have to earn things in life, no one is going to give you anything."

Darwin Pena lead the performance by the Gray Bee All-Americans. The fifth-seed at 152 pounds, Pena battled through a serious knee injury and wound up in fourth place after getting through to the semifinals where he lost to the eventual champion Saturday morning.

Pena came back with a victory in the wrestlebacks to advance to the third-place consolation match. But he had the unenviable position of having to take on the top-seed from Blair, Julian Ramirez, and got pinned after battled through a scoreless draw in the first period.

Unseeded DeShawn Herbert defeated the sixth-seed in his final consolation bout on the way to fifth-place finish at 132 pounds, while Michael Okaro, the eight-seed, wound up sixth at 220 pounds.

Okaro, who lost in the Round of 16 in the Championship bracket, fought his way back with three wrestleback victories on Friday, including a 9-8 victory in the night’s final round when he came back from a 5-0 deficit to become an All-American. He scored the final points of the match with a 4-point takedown midway through third period to rally from an 8-5 disadvantage.

Wilfredo Gil, who struggled through in injury plague season, placed seventh at 138 pounds after coming into the tournament as the No. 2 seed.

The top eight finishers in each weight class at nationals automatically earn All-America status and St. Benedict’s just missed having three other matmen earn that distinction. Michael Simonetti (113), Ibrahim Mendheim (145) and Jonathan Reynolds (170) all fell one victory shy on Friday of giving the Gray Bees seven All-Americans.

Mendheim will get his shot again as a freshman, but for seniors Simonetti and Reynolds, this was their last chance.  

"It hurts to see them go out the way they did. They all battled,"  said Feliciano. "Reynolds has been with me since the lower division and is a great leader and definitely will be missed."

The Gray Bee basketball team raised its record to 26-4 with an 83-72 victory over Redemption Christian (NY) on Friday night in Dalton Gym.

Bourama Sidibe led four players in double digit scoring with 24 points, while Precious Achiuwa scored 16, Matthue Cotton added 15 and Noah Farrakhan hit for 12.

The St. Benedict's track and field team competed in the Pre-Nationals at the New York City Armory on Saturday and Alfred Chawonza took home the 800-meter title by going wire-to-wire for the victory in 1:54.2, while Bryon Simmons placed third in 1:57.51. Chawonza's time in second in New Jersey this indoor season.

Justin Eastman established a school-record in the triple jump with a leap of 42-6 3/4.

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