Port Times Record

Kara Hahn, center, officially opens Forsythe Meadow Count Park/Nora Bredes Preserve’s new walking trail during ribbon cutting ceremony Monday. Photo by Giselle Barkley

The sun appeared just in time for Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn’s (D-Setauket) ribbon cutting ceremony that marked the official opening of Forsythe Meadow County Park/Nora Bredes Preserve’s walking trail.

The ceremony took place Monday afternoon at 52 Hollow Rd. in Stony Brook. More than 50 people were in attendance including Hahn; former legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher; Cynthia Barnes, president of the Board of Trustees Three Village; and Louise Harrison. Barnes and Harrison were both co-chairs of the Coalition for the Future of Stony Brook Village.

Once Hahn cut the ribbon, those who attended the ceremony were invited to hike the trail.

Coalition members wore pink ribbons, which the group selected upon their  outrage that developers wanted to turn the property into a 40-house subdivision.

For these members, the trail is a symbol of success in an effort to preserve this approximate 36-acre property. But according to Jeffrey Weissman, scoutmaster of Troop 377 for the Three Village Boy Scouts, the trail will not be the last improvement made to the property. Weissman wants to have more benches in the area among other improvements.

Hahn, as well as Viloria-Fisher, Barnes, Harrison and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) thanked the individuals who helped create the trail. They also thanked those who attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for their support and effort to save “Stony Brook’s last forest.”

“It is this group standing here today that saved this forest,” Harrison said. “Someday we’ll have access from the village center.”

Stony Brook University international students at a potluck supper hosted by the Colatosti family of Setauket. Photo from Susan Colatosti

Soon, hundreds of international students will be arriving at Stony Brook University to begin their academic careers in search of advanced degrees. For most, it will be their first time in the United States. They have no family or friends here, and are in a completely foreign and unfamiliar environment.

The Host Family Program, a community-based organization now in its fourth decade, provides a newly arrived international student with the friendship of a local American family.

It is run by volunteers, with the cooperation of the university, and has been directed by Rhona Goldman since 1974. It is not a home-stay program; students live on or near campus. Host families invite students to share a meal, some sightseeing, or a favorite activity.

Both students and host families can have the enriching experience of a cultural exchange and gain perspective about the world. A host family may be a retired couple, a family group, or a single individual. The only prerequisite is the desire to make an international student feel comfortable in a new setting.

Students are arriving on campus in late August for the start of the fall semester and are looking forward to meeting an American family. The university will host a reception for the students and the host families to meet each other before the semester begins.

There is always a shortage of local volunteers to host all the students who sign up for the program.
If you would like to find out more about the program, email Rhona Goldman at: sbuhostfamilies@gmail.com.

Eight affordable rental housing parcels in the works

Veterans roll up a flag at a press conference on the Housing our Homeless Heroes initiative. The county Legislature will vote on a measure to transfer properties to create affordabe housing for homeless veterans at its Sept. 9 meeting. File photo by Rohma Abbas

Suffolk County has gained some footing in the war against veteran homelessness.

Last week, officials announced a proposal to transfer eight tax-defaulted properties over to nonprofit groups that will be charged with developing them into rental housing for homeless veterans or those who are at risk of becoming homeless. The units will be overseen and managed by the non-profit organizations.

The move is part of the Housing our Homeless Heroes legislative initiative, a package of four bills sponsored by Legislator Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills). Officials say there are about 750 Long Island veterans who are either homeless or who are expected to be homeless by the end of 2015.

In a phone interview on Monday, Stern said the county Legislature would vote on the transfer of the properties at its Sept. 9 meeting. He said he expects the resolution, which he is co-sponsoring with County Executive Steve Bellone (D), to gain unanimous support.

Stern, who is the chairman of the county’s Veterans and Seniors Committee, said in addition to housing resources, the veterans will receive additional services through these nonprofits, such as job training and placement; primary and mental health care; disability management and health care coordination; family counseling; financial training and substance abuse services.

“The Housing our Homeless Heroes initiative is the housing part of providing assistance to our veterans and families,” Stern said. “But it can never be just about four walls and a roof.”

Once transferred, the nonprofits would foot the construction bill through roughly $10 million in state and federal grant funding available for such projects, Stern said. Funding for the construction will be provided in part from the New York State Homeless Housing Assistance Program and United States Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

Two parcels in Central Islip will be transferred to the Concern for Independent Living for the construction of three single-family homes. Bay Shore-based United Veterans Beacon House has proposed to rehabilitate an existing home on a Copiague parcel, and build a single-family unit on a Yaphank parcel.

In addition, the Association for Mental Health and Wellness is proposing to build a new four-bedroom house for three senior disabled veterans and a live-in house manager on two parcels in Mastic; rehabilitate a house in Riverhead for one veteran family; and build a new set of four, single room occupancies for veterans on a parcel in Medford.

The Legislature approved the Housing our Homeless Heroes initiative last year, and Bellone signed the legislation into law just days before Christmas. The four laws tackle the issue of veteran homelessness from different angles — one establishes a partnership between agencies and community advocates that serve veterans and their families and helps them set up an informational web portal on the county’s website to direct them to services available across all levels of government and within the nonprofit sector. Another maximizes access to available housing for veterans. The third amended the county’s human rights law by adding veterans as a group of individuals protected against discrimination in housing and employment opportunities. The last bill will require a veteran services officer to work at the county’s Department of Social Services on a regular basis. The officers must be veterans as well, in order to establish a peer-to-peer relationship between those they are helping.

“As an agency committed to ensuring empowering people to overcome the impact of health and mental health disabilities, it is our intent to devote these houses to assist male and female veterans who have been affected by service-connected and post-service transition mental health challenges,” Michael Stoltz, chief executive officer of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness said in a statement. “I thank Suffolk County for partnering with our organization to further assist us in supporting our veterans.”

The Terryville Fire Department’s annual carnival put smiles on people’s faces last week, with fast rides, fun games, energetic music and delicious food.

Stock photo

Mosquito samples from Port Jefferson Station, Rocky Point and East Northport have tested positive for West Nile virus, Suffolk County Health Services Commissioner James Tomarken announced on Friday.

In total, six mosquito samples tested positive for the virus, bringing this year’s total to 13. While the insects were infected, no humans, horses or birds have tested positive for the virus in Suffolk County this year.

Two samples collected from Port Jefferson Station on July 14; one sample collected from Rocky Point on July 16; and one sample collected from East Northport on July 17 tested positive, according to a press release from the health services department. Two other samples were gathered from Copiague and Dix Hills.

West Nile virus was first detected in birds and mosquito samples in Suffolk County in 1999, and is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. According to the Center for Disease Control, 70 to 80 percent of those infected with the virus do not develop any of the symptoms, which can include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash. Severe cases — less than 1 percent of infections — could lead to a neurological illness.

Tomarken said while there is no cause for alarm, his department is asking residents to help in their efforts to reduce the exposure to the virus.

First, residents should try to eliminate stagnant water where mosquitoes breed. Popular breeding grounds include tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires, wading pools, wheelbarrows and birdbaths. In addition, residents can make sure their roof gutters are draining properly, clean debris from the edges of ponds and drain water from pool covers.

To avoid mosquito bites, residents should minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, cover up when mosquitoes are most active, use repellent and make sure windows and doors have screens in good repair.

To report dead birds, which may indicate the presence of the virus, residents should call the county’s West Nile virus hotline at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents are encouraged to take a photograph of any bird in question.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the vector control division at 631-852-4270.

For medical related questions, call 631-854-0333.

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An SUV overturned in a wooded area in Port Jefferson Station early on Sunday morning, killing the driver.

The Suffolk County Police Department said the man was heading south on Route 112 in a gray 2004 Ford Explorer, near Washington Avenue, at about 4:20 a.m. when he lost control of the vehicle. He crossed over into the northbound side of the road, then left the roadway and overturned in a wooded area.

A physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner pronounced him dead at the scene, police said.

Police did not immediately identify the driver, as his next of kin had not yet been notified.

The SCPD impounded the Explorer for a safety check.

Detectives from the 6th Squad are investigating the single-car crash. Anyone who may have witnessed it is asked to call them at 631-854-8652.

Joan Beard mugshot from SCPD

Police arrested a Port Jefferson Station woman on Saturday night after finding her unresponsive in a car with her toddler, allegedly under the influence of drugs.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, officers Michael Becker and Michael Cafarella from the 6th Precinct were responding to an anonymous 911 call about an unresponsive woman with a child in a car, parked at a Gulf station on Route 112 in Medford.

Becker and Cafarella arrived at about 7:30 p.m. and knocked on the car window, police said. The woman sitting in the driver’s seat, 31-year-old Joan Beard, did not respond to the knock but woke up when the officers opened the car door.

Police said Beard was under the influence of drugs, and was arrested.

Her 2-year-old daughter, who was in the backseat of the car, was unharmed. Child Protective Services was notified and the girl was released to family members, police said.

Beard was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Beard was listed on the New York State court system’s online database as representing herself and could not be reached for comment.

She has a previous charge pending against her as well, for possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Man on village bench has worn many hats over the years

Justice Peter Graham has served Port Jefferson for more than 30 years. Photo by Talia Amorosano

By Talia Amorosano

When he entered a seminary at age 14, Port Jefferson Village Justice Peter Graham had no idea he would eventually study law, let alone hold a gavel or ever be referred to as “your honor.”

But after four years of training to become a priest, instead of the voice of God it was the voice of singer Hoagy Carmichael through his bedroom window, delivering a message about “a gal who’s mighty sweet, with big blue eyes and tiny feet,” that resonated with him. It was then that Graham decided to abandon this path in favor of one that did not necessarily encompass what he referred to as “the two Cs”: chastity and celibacy.
He traded in his cassock for textbooks, studying biology and chemistry in college and completing law school.

But instead of heading straight for the courtroom, Graham enlisted in the U.S. Army.

“When I finished law school, I felt that I owed my country two years of my life,” Graham said.

He enlisted as a private and refused to receive a commission.

“For 16 weeks they gave me infantry basic training,” he said. “I ran all day. … On the last day [of basic training], I walked 26 miles alone. I was frustrated.”

Just when things seemed low, an unexpected opportunity arrived in the form of a long plane ride to Germany and a short conversation.

“You went to law school, right?” asked a colonel, according to Graham. Before he knew it, he was declared the district attorney of his battalion. Riding on the reassuring words of the colonel — “Don’t make a mistake” — Graham worked on murder, assault and rape cases and gained real experience in the field he had previously only studied.

A particularly interesting case, the justice said, involved a woman who Graham believes murdered her husband, an Army major. Graham had jurisdiction over the case and tried to get her convicted. However, the Supreme Court eventually ruled it could not convict because the defendant was not enlisted. To this day, Graham does not know what became of her.

Despite that situation, “I learned so much [about law] from being in the Army.”

All these years later, and after spending more than 25 years on Port Jefferson Village’s bench, Graham still practices law and specializes in criminal and civil law. As a village justice, a role to which he was recently re-elected for another term of service, he remains diligent about informing himself of the latest policies and practices.

He also keeps an eye on changes in his community — he emphasized the importance of maintaining an awareness of what’s going on in the area and said doing his job helps to keep him alert to the needs of the people. But he stayed away from patting himself on the back.

“All I do is try to be fair to the people,” he said. “I want to make sure they understand what the charge is and what their alternative is.”

Graham’s ability to make people feel comfortable in the courtroom may have something to do with the friendly treatment he gets in out-of-work environments. He said what is most rewarding about being a village justice is “the respect you see on the street. … I’ve been around so long that people are saying hello to me and I don’t even know who they are.”

In addition to praising his community, Graham spoke highly of his colleagues.

About fellow Justice Jack Riley, Graham said he is on the same page about how to handle people in the courtroom. Of Village Court Clerk Christine Wood, with whom he has worked for almost 11 years, he said,

“She does phenomenal work. … I don’t think she’s ever made a mistake.”

Wood was just as complimentary in return.

“He’s awesome. I’ve actually worked for eight judges and he is one of my top,” she said. “He’s the most caring gentleman, and I don’t say that about many people. He’s got a heart of gold.”

Wood said Graham “goes above and beyond” for his village justice role.

When Graham isn’t working, he enjoys being active around Port Jefferson. Although he won’t play golf “because golf is for old men,” he defined himself as a once-avid tennis player.

“They used to call me the deli man because my shots were always slices.”

He plans to start playing more again in the future, when his elbow feels better.

In addition to the “beautiful tennis courts,” Graham appreciates Port Jefferson’s proximity to the water and its abundance of outdoor activities.

He described his experience living in Port Jefferson and serving as a village justice as “a pleasure.”

“I never ask for an increase [in pay]. Whatever it is, it is, and it’s great.”

In threes
A group of young men were arrested in the early morning of July 16 and charged with second-degree robbery. According to police, a homeless 24-year-old, a 19-year-old from Stony Brook and an 18-year-old from Port Jefferson Station forcibly stole money from a person on Route 25A in Port Jefferson Station.

Quick cash
An unknown man pushed a woman to the ground and stole property from her by a bar in Port Jefferson Station on July 15 at around 4:15 a.m.

Failed getaway
Police arrested a 35-year-old Port Jefferson Station man in Port Jefferson on July 13 and charged him with second-degree criminal possession of a loaded firearm, third-degree possession of a narcotic with intent to sell, first-degree leaving the scene of a crash and second-degree obstructing government administration. According to police, at around 4:58 p.m. the man was instructed to shut down his vehicle when stopped at Old Town Road but instead drove north on Jayne Boulevard at a high speed. When he attempted to make a right onto Maple Avenue, he failed to stay to the right and collided with a 2013 Nissan, whose driver required medical attention. The man then fled on foot until apprehended by police. Police said the man possessed a loaded semiautomatic weapon and heroin.

Changing gears
An unknown person stole a bike right off the rack from the The Port Jeff Bike Dr. on Main Street in Port Jefferson on July 19, at around 2:10 p.m.

Can’t even
A woman assaulted another woman in the female bathroom at Portside Bar and Grill in Port Jefferson on July 18, at around 2:30 a.m. According to police, the suspect thought the victim said something negative about her, so she punched her. The victim was transported to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson to receive medical treatment. No arrests have been made.

Old-fashioned fisticuffs
A 25-year-old Rocky Point man was arrested in Port Jefferson and charged with disorderly conduct on July 18 after he engaged in a fistfight with security personnel at Billie’s 1890 Saloon on Main Street.

Friendly fire
Two co-workers at Heritage Diner in Mount Sinai were involved in a tiff on July 18. Police said one worker swung a utensil at the other, causing a laceration to the person’s face. No arrests have been made.

ATM on-the-go
An unknown person broke the front door of a CVS Pharmacy on Route 25A in Miller Place on July 16, at around 2:17 a.m., and fled with the cash register.

Lawn games
An unknown person drove across a lawn on Harrison Avenue in Miller Place on July 15 at some point between 10:45 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

Homerun
A Hawkins Road home in Centereach reported a broken window above a front door on July 16 at 11 p.m. The damage was thought to be caused by a softball.

I’mrich
A 2013 Honda parked at a Ulrich Road home in Centereach was robbed of a wallet and credit cards at some point between July 14 and July 15.

Caught
A woman was given a field appearance ticket after attempting to take property from a Bob’s Store in Selden on July 19 at around 2 p.m. Police said the culprit tried to conceal a bathing suit and blender bottle in her bag.

Coffee buzz interrupted
Police said two men from the Bronx were arrested in South Setauket on July 15 and charged with third-degree burglary and possession of burglar tools. According to police, the men entered a Dunkin’ Donuts on Nesconset Highway at about 1 a.m. on July 15 and attempted to break into a safe. Police said they possessed a sledgehammer, a wedge tool and a pry bar.

Does this gift card buy drugs?
Two men were arrested on Pond Path in Setauket-East Setauket on July 15 and charged with loitering and unlawful use of a controlled substance. Police said the men, one 23 and the other 34 years old, were observed in a 2014 Honda at about 1:20 p.m. Police said the 23-year-old was observed exchanging a Home Depot gift card for heroin. The other man was seated in the passenger seat and possessed heroin.

Repeat burglar busted
An 18-year-old man from East Setauket was arrested on July 15 at 6:37 p.m. at his home and charged with two counts of second-degree burglary of a dwelling and one count of petit larceny. Police said that sometime between Feb. 1 and 28 the man stole master keys to an apartment complex on Jefferson Ferry Drive in South Setauket. Sometime between March 22 and March 31, he entered a residence using the stolen keys and stole property. He entered another Jefferson Ferry Drive residence on March 29 and stole jewelry.

Movie, popcorn, mischief
Someone broke the passenger-side front window of a 2015 Mercedes parked at AMC Loews Stony Brook 17 theater on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook and stole Beats by Dre headphones, cash and cologne between 9:40 and 11:54 p.m. That same day, someone broke the window of a 2006 Ford F350 between 8 and 11:35 p.m. and stole tools from the same location.

Shattered window
Someone broke the rear passenger-side window of a 1994 Plymouth Voyager parked outside a home on Hollow Road in Stony Brook sometime between 8 p.m. on July 16 and 10 a.m. on July 17.

Jewelry box lifted
Someone snatched a jewelry box containing jewelry that was inside an unlocked 2006 Mercedes parked on Spring Meadow Road in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between 3:25 and 4:25 a.m. on July 19. There have been no arrests.

Car handle hulked
Someone ripped off the driver-side handle on a 2015 Ford Mustang parked on Adams Way at the Sayville Commons parking lot in Sayville. The incident happened on July 19 sometime between 12:05 and 12:50 p.m.

Phone jacked
Someone took an iPhone 4 and cash from an unlocked 2014 Honda CRV sometime between 6 p.m. on July 14 and 7 a.m. on July 15.

Bicyclist killed in Lake Ronkonkoma crash
Suffolk County police are investigating a motor vehicle crash that killed a Bohemia bicyclist in Lake Ronkonkoma on Tuesday evening.
Laura Heerbrandt, 23, of Ronkonkoma, was driving a 2014 Nissan eastbound on Portion Road when her car struck Luis Benitez, 51. According to police, Benitez swerved into her lane of traffic as he was traveling westbound on Portion Road.
Benitez was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner. Heerbrandt was not injured.
The vehicle was impounded for a safety check and the investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about this crash to contact the Fourth Squad at 631-854-8452.

Armed robber hits Hauppauge 7-Eleven
A masked man robbed a 7-Eleven in Hauppauge early Monday morning, injuring the clerk on duty.
According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the masked suspect, who was also wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants and sunglasses, entered the convenience store on Townline Road shortly before 2 a.m., displayed what appeared to be a gun and demanded cash from the clerk. After the clerk complied, giving him cash from the drawer, the assailant fled on foot, heading west on Townline.
The clerk suffered a minor injury during the holdup, police said. He was treated at Stony Brook University Hospital and released.
Police described the robber as being about 6 feet tall and having a thin build.
Detectives from the SCPD’s 4th Squad are investigating the robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call them at 631-854-8452 or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.

Police search for man who stole $400 in clothes from Commack store
Suffolk County police and 4th Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a man who stole merchandise from a Commack store last month.
The man stole assorted men’s clothing from Kohl’s at 45 Crooked Hill Road on June 2 at about 6:15 p.m. The clothing has a value of about $400.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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Tristin DeVincenzo, a two-time All-State athlete and two-time county champion, is Royals’ winningest wrestler

Tristin DeVincenzo wrestles in a previous Suffolk County championship match. File photo

Tristin DeVincenzo may not have started his varsity wrestling career at Port Jefferson on the highest note but he left a mark, as the two-time All-State wrestler, who will be heading to the University of Pennsylvania
in the fall, racked up the most wins in program history.

“He was a little kid with a bad haircut,” Port Jefferson head coach Mike Maletta said of DeVincenzo, one of the first wrestlers he brought up to the varsity level as an eighth-grader, laughing. “He won about 13 matches that year. He still had a lot to learn — he was a little undersized — and over the next couple of years, he continued to work at his skills and worked on his body and got into shape to where he was one of the best wrestlers in the state.”

DeVincenzo knew he had a passion for the sport, and set his sights on improving his grappling game.

“Right away I loved the fact that it’s an individual sport and it all revolves around you,” he said. “I knew the work I needed to put in to be the best. At first I had no mental strength and I didn’t know how to win matches, but as the years progressed I developed a lot of mental strength and a very, very good work ethic and both of those together helped me progress in the sport.”

He did significantly better his freshman year, and signed up for the 28-day J. Robinson Intensive Training Camp in Minnesota in the next two offseasons.

“When he started to show the discipline and the dedication for the sport, I got more excited because I’m a wrestling guy and I wrestled in high school and college,” said Tristin’s father Matt DeVincenzo, who is the athletic director in neighboring Comsewogue. “You have to know where Tristin came from as a wrestler. He always loved the sport, but he wasn’t always a gifted wrestler. Now he’s an All-State wrestler and no one can ever take that away from him.”

The training camp, along with support from his coach, his father and his younger brother Matteo, who is also a Royals wrestler, directly impacted Tristin DeVincenzo’s game, and the athlete began to climb the ladder toward the state championships.

“I surrounded myself with guys that had the same goals as me and the same mindset to improve and get better,” he said of his time at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. “Being on a small school team was also awesome. Everyone looked up to me and I served as more or less a role model, which not only helped me teach others but it taught me a lot about myself.”

Tristin DeVincenzo has his arm raised after winning a county title. File photo from Port Jefferson athletics
Tristin DeVincenzo has his arm raised after winning a county title. File photo from Port Jefferson athletics

Once his junior year arrived, DeVincenzo realized he was on track to surpass the school’s win record, which had been established more than 20 years before. He finished his high school career with 137 wins, topping the previous 134 mark.

“There’s only been eight other wrestlers that have won over 100 matches for Port Jefferson wrestling, which has been around since the 1950s,” Maletta said. “He’s at the top of the heap now.”

DeVincenzo’s now-former coach, who began working with him when he was a quarterback on the junior varsity team, said it wasn’t surprising that his athlete was able to achieve the feat.

“He had the will to succeed — that’s key,” he said. “He didn’t want to fail, so he did what he could to improve on his skills to always be successful. He continues to improve at every level and keeps setting new goals for himself.”

DeVincenzo is used to overcoming setbacks.

After his 39-4 junior-year campaign, he hit trouble in the state bracket but bounced back to place fifth. The wrestler did the same thing at the Eastern States Classic that same season, winning four consecutive contests in the consolations to make the finals, which included three nationally ranked wrestlers.

DeVincenzo won back-to-back Suffolk County championships in 2014 and 2015, and was named a 2015 National High School Coaches Association Academic All-American. Besides athletics being a major part of his life — the competitor also had brief stints on the football and baseball teams — he also plays the piano and trumpet.

“I love playing the piano because it’s another thing that’s on you, kind of like wrestling,” he said. “The work you put into it directly correlates with how good you are.”

Maletta recalls his wrestler earning the All-State honor, and compared the feeling to being similar to the sensation he had when his children were born.

“I had chills down my body,” he said. “When he turned and looked at me after becoming All-State and he jumped in my arms, I had the same feeling. He put so much effort into this and the journey was such an up-and-down one.”

His grit and determination to get to the top helped him attract the attention of multiple colleges and universities and ultimately, after stepping onto the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, DeVincenzo’s decision seemed obvious.

“It’s a Division I program, so it’s good wrestling,” Maletta said. “He’s going to have a great experience and I’m excited to see where the next few years take him.”

To be successful on a big stage, Maletta said he hopes DeVincenzo can continue to carry the same mindset he had in high school onto the college level.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Maletta said. “There’s going to be an adjustment period. There will be days he’ll want to quit and every day he’ll have to wake up, put his feet on the floor, set some new goals for himself and tell himself that he’ll get better every day.”

Alex Tirapelle, a second-year head coach at the helm of UPenn’s program, is looking forward to what the members of his first recruiting class will bring to the program.

“When I arrived on campus in August, I knew it would it would be important to find the right people for the class of 2019,” he said. “While Penn Wrestling will always recruit high-achieving student-athletes, it was particularly important for us to find young men that were representative of the program’s core values — integrity, passion, confidence, persistence and commitment. I believe we have done exactly that.”

DeVincenzo would like to see himself as a multiple placer in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association tournament and, by doing so, qualify for nationals. His ultimate goal would be to become an All-American.

“It’s been a crazy journey, especially from where I started in eighth grade,” he said. “I didn’t really have the confidence in eighth grade and by junior/senior year, I had the confidence that I could do things beyond that. I’m happy it all paid off and I can look back and see I’ve accomplished things in the sport. Wrestling means a lot to me. It’s a lifestyle. I love it.”

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