Xavier recently was informed of a $5,008 grant from the Community Foundation of Middletown/Colter Abely Achievement Fund to benefit the wrestling program.
Xavier is coming off another highly successful season in which it won its third consecutive SCC team title with six wrestlers – Dylan Sousa, Mike Rapuano, James Lunt, Jameel Salami, Quinn Moynihan and Tommy Manganiello -- winning individual titles.
The Falcons then finished third in the Class L wrestling meet with Rapuano and Sousa winning individual titles and seven others qualifying for the State Open.
Xavier finished second at the Open with Rapuano becoming the first wrestler in Xavier history to win a state title as a sophomore. Sousa finished second, Salami third and Lunt sixth at the State Open.
Rapuano, continuing his memorable season, was third at the New England championships.
Xavier coach Mike Cunningham's philosophy is to wrestle the toughest possible schedule early in the season to prepare for the big meets later in the season. It pays off in many ways, and for that he thanks the fund.
"The money from the Colter Abely Achievement Fund is used to give kids the opportunities to wrestle with teams outside of the state of Connecticut that we normally would not have the chance to compete against," Cunningham said. "These opportunities are a chance for the kids to form great team experiences with all the day trips and overnight trips we take during the season."
There is a tight wrestling bond that builds as the season progresses, and even out of season.
"[The grant money] is also used to give our wrestlers the opportunities to participate in spring, summer or fall wrestling camps or clinics that they normally would not be able to," Cunningham said.
Colter Abely was a wrestler for Xavier who died in a car accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike just two years after his 2010 graduation. His memory lives on in many ways at Xavier. This grant, which touches the lives of many in the wrestling program, is just one of those ways.
Xavier is a private, Catholic all-boys high school in Middletown, CT.