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Matt Campo

A rendering of the new Ronald McDonald House building to be constructed in Stony Brook.

Ronald McDonald House Charities NY Metro (RMHC NYM) announced on Feb. 1 that it will break ground for a new Ronald McDonald House in Suffolk County on April 17, having raised more than $23 million for the project.

“We are thrilled to have achieved this milestone as we push toward making the dream of a Ronald McDonald House a reality for Suffolk County families,” said Cynthia Lippe, who is heading the fundraising effort. “We thank those who have supported us and urge others to join us in this most noble of efforts.”

The new, three-story, 60,000 sq. ft. Ronald McDonald House will be located within walking distance to Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and will be the only one in Suffolk County. It will join two family rooms located at Stony Brook, in the Children’s Hospital (opened in 2013) and the Hospital NICU (opened in 2022). The house will include 30 bedrooms that include ensuite bathrooms, a communal dining room, a movie theater and fitness room, administrative offices and a great room designed with children in mind.

“The Suffolk County Ronald McDonald House has been a vision of ours for many years and is needed to help so many families who travel from the farthest ends of Suffolk to find the medical care their children need,” said Matt Campo, CEO of RMHC NYM. “We’re thrilled to see the end in sight and get ready for construction next year.”

“The new Ronald McDonald House will provide a safe, secure and comfortable environment for families of children who are hospitalized at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital,” said Carol Gomes, chief executive officer of Stony Brook University Hospital. “We are grateful for our long-standing partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities NY Metro. The facility underscores Stony Brook Medicine’s commitment to offer exceptional care to meet the needs of our patients and their families.”

About Ronald McDonald House Charities NY Metro 

Ronald McDonald House Charities New York Metro (RMHC NYM) provides free lodging, meals, and emotional support to keep families seeking medical treatment for their sick children near the care they need and the families they love.

Matt Campo, CEO of RMHC NY Metro receives a check from Chris Murray/Vice President of Marketing at Island Federal. Photo courtesy of Island Federal

Island Federal Credit Union (Island Federal) closed out 2023 by donating to Ronald McDonald House Charities New York Metro (RMHC NYM) to support their work with families that have a child receiving emergency medical care.

Island Federal donated $20,000 to support the construction of a new Ronald McDonald House at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. Also, through the generosity of its employees and members, Island Federal presented more than 10 boxes of toys and games for families staying at RMHC NYM facilities to make their children’s holiday a little more enjoyable.

“Ronald McDonald House Charities New York Metro does an amazing job serving families who have seriously ill children, both at their house in New Hyde Park and at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital through their Family Rooms,” said Chris Murray, VP/Marketing, Island Federal. “When we heard that they were launching a capital campaign to build a new Ronald McDonald House at Stony Brook Hospital, we were anxious to help.”

“We have seen the number of families that we serve in Suffolk County continue to grow and so a new Ronald McDonald House at Stony Brook Hospital is essential to supporting families there,” said Matt Campo, CEO, RMHC NY Metro. “This new house will provide comfort and overnight accommodations just like our New Hyde Park house, offering the parents and siblings of these children a temporary haven in a secure and comfortable environment among other families sharing a similar burden.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities New York Metro (RMHC NYM) provides free lodging, meals, and emotional support to keep families seeking medical treatment for their sick children near the care they need and the families they love.

Ruth Signorelli (center), with her 500 hour Gold Volunteer Award, with members of the RMHC NYM team. Photo from RMHC NYM

Ronald McDonald House Charities NY Metro honored more than 100 loyal RMHC New York Metro volunteers recently at its Volunteer Recognition Dinner, with awards for their selfless work on behalf of families with a sick child in the hospital. The event coincided with the close of National Volunteer Month in April.

Awards were given for individuals who had given various levels of their time and energy, divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze levels, representing thousands of hours of effort and energy.

Matt Campo, CEO, RMHC NYM, takes a selfie with volunteers and members of the RMHC NYM staff. . Photo from RMHC NYM

Ruth Signorelli, of Bayport, was the lone Gold Award recipient, having volunteered more than 500 hours of her time at the Ronald McDonald House Family Room at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.  Ruth worked multiple hours every week, delivering free snacks, beverages, and smiles from the RMHC NYM Hospitality Cart. The Family Room Recently reopened, having been forced to close to observe State Health Department guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is all about the families, that need our help and support so much,” said Ruth. “We’re just there to lend a hand or be a shoulder to cry on if they need.”

The Silver Award, given to volunteers who have donated between 250 and 499 hours of their time, was given to 10 people. Twenty-nine people received the Bronze Award, given to volunteers who have donated between 100 and 249 hours of their time to Ronald McDonald House.

“The power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, can never be underestimated. Each has the potential to turn a life around,” said Matt Campo, CEO of RMHC NYM. “The kindness, generosity, and compassion displayed by our volunteers has touched the hearts of many and have made a lasting impact.”

About Ronald McDonald House Charities NY Metro 

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) New York Metro provides free lodging, meals and emotional support to keep families seeking medical treatment for their sick children near the care they need and the families they love.

Photo courtesy of RMHC NYM

More than 250 guests turned out in their fall fashions to honor Island Federal Credit Union at the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) NY Metro 5th Annual Fall Celebration at Flowerfield in St. James, on Nov. 9. The event raised more than $125,000 for programs in Suffolk County. 

Members of the Island Federal Credit Union Board of Directors and Management Team were on hand for the celebration, including Island Federal Credit Union Branch Manager Jose Melendez and his family, who spoke about their personal connection to the Ronald McDonald House and the positive impact the organization has had on their lives. 

The funds will go toward the ongoing operation of RMHC NYM’s two Family Rooms at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and Stony Brook Medicine Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which opened earlier this year. RMHC NYM intends to build a new house on the grounds of Stony Brook Hospital in the near future that will to accommodate families from across Suffolk County who have a sick child receiving care in the area. 

“This was a terrific celebration of the work we have done and what we plan to do — specifically in Suffolk County — in the future,” said Matt Campo, CEO of RMHC NY Metro. “We depend so much on the support of our community, which donates their money and their time, to help the families that come to us in their greatest hour of need. We thank each and every one of them from the bottom of our hearts.” 

“Suffolk County has a tremendous need for a Ronald McDonald House, and we are determined to raise the funds to build it,” said Nick Croce, Board Member and Co-Chair of the Suffolk County Advisory Board for RMHC NYM. “We’ve raised $16.5 million already and with this kind of sustained support, we will be putting the shovel in the ground before we know it.” 

Pictured from left, Chris Murray, VP Marketing; Larry Dunn, Senior Director of Sales & Membership Experience; Damon Rivera, VP Technology; Paul Scollan, Board of Director; Matt Campo, RMHC NYM President; Bret Sears, Island President & CEO; Jeannine Bowden, AVP; John Adragna, Board Chairman; Craig Booth, SVP/COO; Tim Aaraas, VP Retail Lending; Catherine Roger, Director of Branch Operations; Jose Melendez, Hauppauge Branch Manager; Elizabeth Cardone, Board of Director; Vinny Accardi, Member Success Specialist.

From left, Mike Fallarino, Chairman of the Board, RMHC NY Metro; Margreet Cevasco, Cevasco Design, Designer of RMHC NY Metro Family Room; Carolyn Milana, MD, Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Stony Brook Medicine; Dr. Hal Paz, Executive Vice President of Health Sciences, CEO of Stony Brook University Medicine; Carol A. Gomes, MS, FACHE, CPHQ, CEO, Stony Brook University Hospital; and Matt Campo, CEO, RMHC NY Metro cut the ribbon to officially open the new Family Room at the Stony Brook Hospital NICU. Photo from RMHC NY Metro

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) NY Metro officially opened its newest Family Room at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Stony Brook Hospital on Aug. 4. The space will serve as a respite area for parents and families caring for a newborn in the NICU receiving life-saving treatment. 

The new family room was designed and decorated mostly with donated goods and services and is equipped with a kitchen area, laundry facility and shower, all to keep families close to their ill children in the hospital. Coffee and snacks are also made available free of charge and local restaurants regularly donate warm meals to serve to families. 

“This has been a labor of love,” said Matt Campo, CEO of RMHC NY Metro. “We have partnered with Stony Brook over the last two years to see this come to fruition. Families have been stopping in, expressing their gratitude, and using the facilities that we built for them. It’s providing so much comfort and has given us a glimpse of what this room will mean to them.” 

The room is the second at Stony Brook Hospital. Ronald McDonald House opened a family room in the Stony Brook Children’s Hospital before the COVID pandemic. Both rooms are staffed entirely by volunteers from around Long Island. 

“Serving families is at the heart of what we do,” said Dr. Hal Paz, Executive Vice President of Health Sciences, CEO of Stony Brook University Medicine. “Having the opportunity to provide a quiet space for families is an essential part of providing quality care for all of our patients. Partnerships like these are fundamental to the care that our hospital system provides, allowing us to meet the needs of our patients and their families more fully.

More photos of the Ronald McDonald NICU Respite Lounge at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital can be found here

 

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Riley Smith of Miller Place High School and Matthew Campo of Mount Sinai High School were named the 2020 Mount Sinai – Miller Place Chamber Alliance Scholarship Recipients. Photos from MSMP Chamber

The 2020 Mount Sinai – Miller Place Chamber Alliance Scholarship winners this year are Riley Smith of Miller Place High School and Matthew Campo of Mount Sinai High School. Each student will receive a $500 scholarship towards furthering their education or business. Applicants were asked to submit an essay detailing how they would use the award to achieve their goals, a description of any community service or volunteer work they have participated in, and two letters of recommendation. Applications were then reviewed by the Mount Sinai – Miller Place Chamber Alliance scholarship committee.

“My sincerest congratulations to Riley and Matthew for earning this award,” said Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai). “It is important students realize that hard work and determination are necessary to reach your goals, and Riley and Matthew serve as examples for their peers. I look forward to seeing their future accomplishments.”

Riley plans to use her scholarship towards her education at Stony Brook University, where she will be studying to become a research biologist in order to help preserve the environment. Matthew will be using his award to further his balloon art business, which he has done voluntarily through partnerships with Atria Assisted Living in Setauket, Little Flower Adoption and Services Agency, and Angela’s House to bring joy and hope to the elderly, children with special needs, and their families.

For more information on the Mount Sinai – Miller Place Chamber Alliance and its scholarship fund, visit www.msmpchamber.com.

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Above, Mount Sinai senior Matt Campo won the day at the state wrestling championship March 1. Several other North Shore wrestlers placed on the day. Photo by Mel Jacoby

Like many students in the time of the coronavirus, Matt Campo, a senior at Mount Sinai High School, has had to wrestle with a lot, from having to take all schoolwork home, to planning for college not knowing what events will be like in just a few short months.

Mount Sinai’s Matt Campo in eighth grade. He started his career at 99 pounds and ends it at 170. Photo by Bill Landon

But Campo, at 170 pounds who early last month won the state championship against the No. 1 seeded wrestler in New York, the road has been long but worth it.

“Just making a name for myself in Mount Sinai — people know I’m a wrestling guy,” he said.

The path toward the championship started 6 years ago, when Campo joined the varsity team in 7th grade at 99 pounds. Mount Sinai wrestling head coach Matt Armstrong said that is rather rare, but Campo had quickly proved he was made of strong stuff.

“We knew early on he was very talented, and he always worked very hard,” Armstrong said. “His drive and his focus of winning a state championship got to be greater and greater, and he put in a lot of extra time and a lot of hard work.”

Joining the team in middle school, Campo said it was different than what he had seen before, with a new focus on the team dynamic. Though it would be the team-based mentality that would lead him to be class president for every year of his high school career.

Wrestling, to Campo, is a mental game. 

“In a match, every move has offense and a counter — you have to think three steps ahead,” he said. “Most wrestlers are extremely smart, the ability to have usually an edge over my opponent, it’s like a big chess match.”

At the Feb. 28 and 29 NYSPHSAA wrestling tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany, Campo would face his most formidable opponent, Mickey Squires of Norwich, the No. 1 seed. Squires had pulled off a win against Campo last year at the Windsor Christmas tournament where Squires won 6-4.  The finals was the seventh time Campo and Squires faced off, with Squires winning four and Campo winning two of those matches.

Armstrong said in the night before the match, he and his fellow coaches were discussing Campo’s prospects. Universally, it seemed every one of them were betting on Campo’s skills.

“We all thought Matt was going to win,” the coach said. “It was his work ethic and drive, he wrestled with the best kids and beat them or lost by a point or two. We just knew how focused he was, and thought he was gonna make that happen.” 

Matt Campo in 2018. Photo by Melvyn Jacoby

The match itself was an overtime nailbiter. It started with Squires scoring one point in the first period with an escape and took the lead 1-0.
Campo responded in the second period with a takedown, scoring two points and a 2-1 lead. Squires responded with a third-period escape, scoring one point. This tied the score at 2-2 and sent the match to overtime. The crowd was in a frenzy, knowing the first one to score would win the championship. In a dramatic finish, Campo scored two points on a takedown and won the match 4-2.

“It’s more I just go out there and just the ability to act and react in a match is what gives me an edge,” the wrestling champ said.

The tournament also represented a milestone for both him and Mount Sinai High School, leaving Albany with 200 wins under his belt. He is ending his high school wrestling career with 202 wins, a school record.

Beyond the mat, Campo has also started his own business that he’s now run for several years. Called Campo Creations, he does balloon twisting for parties and other events. It started several years ago, when he was bored in his room and started watching YouTube videos about making balloon animals. Though he is still getting calls during the ongoing pandemic, he said he has not been able to get out to do the job. 

After he graduates high school, he said he has plans to attend Siena College, going into the pediatric neurology program. He said he wants to become a pediatric neurologist, specifically because of his interest in the brain and his continuing desire to work with and help children.

Though Armstrong said the team is going to be missing Campo, along with a bevy of other seniors who are graduating this year, he thought Campo has the ability to accomplish anything.

“He definitely has drive and focus,” the coach said. “When he sets his mind to something, he’s gonna do it.”

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Above, Mount Sinai senior Matt Campo won the day at the state wrestling championship March 1. Several other North Shore wrestlers placed on the day. Photo by Mel Jacoby

The wrestling season came to an end this past weekend at the Times Union Center in Albany with North Shore wrestlers making way at the 2020 Championship.  

A sellout crowd was in attendance for the two-day, three-session event featuring the best wrestlers throughout New York state. All of the Division II County Champions plus a few wildcards competed.

North Shore wrestlers from John Glenn, Mount Sinai, Shoreham-Wading River and Mattituck participated.  

Mount Sinai’s Matt Campo, the No. 2 seed, wrestled Mickey Squires of Norwich, the No. 1 seed, in a rematch of their Windsor Christmas tournament where Squires won 6-4.  The finals was the seventh time Campo and Squires faced off, with Squires wining four and Campo winning two.

The match started with Squires scoring one point in the first period with an escape and took the lead 1-0. Campo responded in the second period with a takedown, scoring two points and a 2-1 lead. Squires responded with a third-period escape, scoring one point. This tied the score at 2-2 and sent the match to overtime. Both wrestlers knew the other’s style and adjusted accordingly. The crowd was in a frenzy during the overtime, knowing the first one to score would win the championship. In a dramatic finish, Campo scored two points on a takedown and won the match 4-2, becoming the New York State Champion at 170 pounds. Campo also recorded his 200th career win during the tournament.   

Campo credited the win to the strategy set up by his father, Mike Campo, coach Matt Armstrong and assistants Kurt Wagner, Eric Strobeck, Ralph Menchino, Jim Walker and two outstanding wrestling training partners, Joe Goodrich and Adam Shrata.    

Also placing in the tournament were Brayden Fahrbach and Mike O’Brien of Mount Sinai, who finished third. Craig Jablonski, of Shoreham-Wading River, placed fifth, while Joe Goodrich, of Mount Sinai placed sixth.

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Mustangs take Division I team title with seven top-two finishers, Port Jeff's Vin Miceli places first

Mount Sinai had four first-place finishers and three second-place grapplers to take him the Suffolk County Division I team title. Photo by Jim Ferchland

By Jim Ferchland

Mount Sinai senior Mike Zarif knows how to get the job done. The 138-pounder surrendered a 3-2 lead midway through the third period, and went into overtime tied at three against Center Moriches’ Donald Wood. As the two scrambled for position late, Zarif countered a Wood takedown attempt and spun behind the Red Devils wrestler for the two points and a 5-3 win. Of seven competing in the finals, four Mount Sinai grapplers came out on top.

“My coach was telling me ‘all heart, all heart’ especially when I was getting tired,” Zarif said. “I was just trying to push the pace and just push myself as much as possible. Being a county champ been my goal since last year. I’ve been working every day for it. Winning this is such a great feeling I’ll always remember.”

Mike Zarif with his county bracket. Photo by Jim Ferchland

Zarif, who picked up his 86th career win, was named the tournament’s Champion of Champions.

The strong showing helped the Mustangs to a first-place Division II finish for the first time in over a decade at the Suffolk County wrestling championships Feb. 11 at Suffolk Community College’s Brentwood campus. Mount Sinai tallied 241 points. Center Moriches, which earned the team title last year, finished second with 222 points.

“We have a really special group of kids,” head coach Matt Armstrong said. “They just worked so hard this year. It really payed off. It’s great when you can have kids excel and do well.”

Freshman Brendan Goodrich fell just short in a 2-1 decision to Bayport-Blue Point’s Joe Sparacio at 99 pounds.

“You know it’s going to be a 2-1 match either way,” Armstrong said of Goodrich’s match. “Unfortunately, Brendan was on the wrong side of it. He’s a young kid. We’ll see him back here for the next couple of years.”

Sophomore 120-pounder Michael O’Brien picked up his 76th career victory with a 5-1 decision over Shoreham-Wading River’s Eddie Troyano, who has a career record of 91-21 as a junior.

Three matches later, Mount Sinai’s Matt Campo (126 pounds) and Joe O’Brien (132 pounds) lost in decisions.

Port Jefferson senior Vin Miceli won the 126-pound title and his 127th career win with a 4-0 decision over Campo who, finish third in the state last year.

Port Jefferson’s Vin Miceli proudly displays his bracket atop the county podium. Photo by Jim Ferchland

“It feels awesome honestly,” Miceli said about being a county champ. “It’s quite an experience to have my hand raised in front of that crowd. All the work I put in — it showed off on the mat.”

The Royals, which fell on the other side with four wrestlers losing their county matches, placed third overall with 210 points. Miceli said it felt bittersweet that he was only finalist to win for Port Jeff.

“My team put in a lot of work as well, but it honestly comes down to the mental game,” he said. “You’ve got to want it. You gotta want every minute in your match. You got to work for every takedown. Every move matters.”

Rick D’Elia was pinned by Shoreham-Wading River’s Connor Pearce in 3:40 at 113 pounds. D’ Elia is 72-21 in his career after the loss. Three matches after Miceli’s win, Port Jeff junior Joe Evangelista took the mat against Mattituck’s Jack Bokina. Evangelista lost in a 12-4 decision. He said he has no excuse for losing.

“I’ve been working for this for a while and it’s not what I planned,” Evangelista said. “I don’t know what happened.”

Mount Sinai junior 182-pounder Mike Sabella and senior 195-pounder Jake Croston both won off early pins against Port Jefferson. Sabella took out Port Jeff’s Chris Lepore in 1 minute, 52 seconds. Croston pinned Harry Cona in just 39 seconds.

The victories come just weeks after the Mustangs took the county and state team titles. The individual winners automatically advance to the state championship Feb. 23 and 24 at Times Union Center in Albany.

“The kids all support each other,” Armstrong said. “They’re a tight-knit group, and the kids that are going upstate are the upper-echelon kids. I think that we are going to represent Suffolk County very well — they truly do have a legitimate chance of placing.”

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Wrestling team has four grapplers go undefeated

The Mount Sinai wrestling team took first place at the inaugural wrestling team state championship Jan. 27. Photo by Melvyn Jacoby

Despite being just 126 pounds, Mount Sinai sophomore wrestler Matt Campo is someone his teammates can lean on.

When every win counted, Campo went 4-0 with four pins during the inaugural state dual meet championship Jan. 27, helping the Mustangs claim the first title.

“We know we’re a great team with a lot of heart, but I don’t know if any of us really felt we could win the whole thing,” Campo said. “We all work so hard during the season and sacrificed a lot, so to win this as a team means the world to all of us. I just feel very grateful to be part of this team and to have played a role in clinching this victory.”

Matt Campo. Photo by Melvyn Jacoby

He wasn’t the only underclassmen to make a big statement at Onondaga Community College. Freshman 99-pounder Brendan Goodrich, who also went undefeated, sealed the semifinal match win, 34-32 against Tioga, with a 9-0 decision.

“It was a huge win over a very tough wrestler,” said Campo, who pinned his Tioga challenger in 24 seconds to close Mount Sinai within 10 points overall. “Sometimes you just need to get the momentum to swing in your team’s direction, and I was glad to be able to get the pin and get us back in the match. Everyone started to believe we could win.”

Senior Mike Sabella’s also contributed four important wins. His pin, which came after another by teammate Adham Shata, helped keep the momentum set by Campo and put Mount Sinai back on top, 30-26.

“The team was energized,” Campo said of his team following the pins, the boys screaming from the side of the mat.

Even though getting the lead was a big boost after Sabella’s win, the senior was quick to point out the total team effort needed to take home a state dual meet title.

“Going into this tournament, coach [Matt] Armstrong made one thing clear above all else — it’s not going to be our county champion wrestlers and team captains that win us these tough matches,” Sabella said. “The fact that not only our hammer wrestlers can go out there, step up their game and get big wins in matches like that is what pushed us so far through this tournament. Kids like Adham are why we were able to take home gold.”

Behind 7-0 to start the final against Canisteo-Greenwood, Campo, who pinned all four of his challengers in a combined time of 3:31, secured his fourth win to put Mount Sinai down just a point, 7-6, and ignited another spark.

“In these types of meets, every point matters,” Campo said. “So I approached each match with the hope for a pin. Those bonus points are huge.”

Victories by Ryan Shanian and Mike Zarif (4-0) put Mount Sinai ahead 15-11, but the lead was short-lived.

“Some other teams on the Island are just a bunch of kids all looking for their own personal success, and nobody else’s, but this group is different.”

— Mike Sabella

A major decision tied it up, and a Greenwood pin put the team back in front 21-15. Like in the semifinals, it was a seesaw, back-and-forth affair. Sophomore 170-pounder Joe Goodrich escaped with a 6-5 decision, Sabella won 9-4 to tie the match 21-21 and Jake Croston got points on a forfeit.

“I’m so proud of how we wrestled,” Zarif said. “To be the best you have to do what your opponent isn’t doing, and we’ve been putting in the double workouts and extra practices to get to where we are.”

Junior David Mazzella’s 7-0 decision at 285 pounds and Brendan Goodrich’s resiliency to pull away with a close 5-3 decision and 33-24 lead ultimately earned the win. Mount Sinai was able to forfeit its final contest having already sealed the deal.

“Greenwood was a phenomenal wrestling team, and we knew from the beginning that it was going to be a dog fight,” Sabella said. “Our coaches did a fantastic job scouting out everybody we had to wrestle. We knew exactly who we were up against going into every match, and that advantage was huge.”

He said the matchups, coupled with his team’s closeness, helped the Mustangs come out on top with a historic win.

“Some other teams on the Island are just a bunch of kids all looking for their own personal success, and nobody else’s, but this group is different,” Sabella said. “Not only are we a wrestling team, but we’re a family. We all have each other’s back and are always there to pick one another up when it’s needed most. The bond we have all built with one another throughout the years we’ve wrestled is what makes us such a special group, and that bond is what makes being a Mustang so special.”

This version corrects the spelling of Ryan Shanian’s last name.

Mount Sinai grapplers are all smiles while showing off the new hardware. Photo by Melvyn Jacoby