Courtesy of Gotham City Wrestling
BY MATT DIANO, Courtesy of Gotham City Wrestling
"The Chaminade man does the right thing at the right time because it is the right thing to do, regardless of who is watching.” Such is the mantra that permeates through the hallways of the Mineola, NY based All-Boys high school that senior lightweight Christian Briody attends.
In agreement with the catchy phrase, the two-year Flyer team captain does much of his best work behind the scenes, whether it be in the classroom, the practice room, or the weight room [his father, Michael, is the owner of Covert Fitness in Locust Valley]. He does not need to command the spotlight because all that matters in the end is that he knows that he did the right thing and as a result, was rewarded with achievement.
Late last night, this collection of “right things” would yield the realization of a dream when Ascend Wrestling Club owner/head coach, Craig Vitagliano announced that his protege had given a verbal commitment to Coach Carl Fronhofer, to become the newest member of the Columbia University Class of 2019.
In making this decision, Briody became Vitagliano’s third athlete from the present senior class and the ninth overall from Ascend to land at one of the six Ivy League institutions that maintain an NCAA Division I wrestling program. When he arrives in the fall, he will have company, as joining him will be his club teammate, 2x NYS DII placewinner, Sam Ward, who committed to the Lions last March. 2012 NHSCA Junior National Champion/2013 NYSPHSAA qualifier,Chris Araoz (Wantagh) is currently a sophomore on CU’s 2015 roster.
Speaking about his selection, this true scholar-athlete, who was also exploring other top-ranked academic colleges/universities the likes of Duke, Davidson, Wesleyan, and fellow Ivy League member Brown, conveyed that he was won over by the Lions last week when he went on his official campus visit. Having narrowed his short list down to Columbia and Davidson, Briody shared that there were "just so many pleasing factors" that one school had that the other did not. Describing Columbia as the "the best of both worlds", he was immediately taken in by the beauty of the campus, but also was attracted to the urban feel to the community when you stepped off. He also pointed at the work ethic he saw modeled by his future teammates as a motivating factor, as was his ability to establish an instant friendship/rapport with the guys on the team. Independent of the visit, Briody also expressed that part of this "perfect combination of intangibles" was the knowledge that he would be receiving an Ivy League education while being able to remain close to home, thus giving his parents the freedom to see him in action during the next four years.
A varsity wrestler since the 7th grade [competed for Locust Valley in 2010 and 2011 before enrolling at Chaminade as a freshman], the only time in the last five years that the future Lion was not a major impact performer for his school was in 2012 when an injury suffered late in the preseason shelved him for his entire CHSAA rookie campaign.
A two-time Nassau County qualifier while in junior high for the Falcons (went 2-2 and just narrowly missed placing in 2011), much was and continues to be expected of Briody as a member of the perennially strong Catholic League school that has won seven of the last 12 CHSAA State team titles (2003-2008; 2013). Despite the pressure, the honor roll and National Honor Society member has embraced every challenge and thrived in all endeavors.
For the remainder of Matt Diano's story from Gotham City Wrestling, please see here.