Standout Senior Leaves Wrestling Winning Legacy

By: Mike Falk  Thursday, April 4, 2019 01:44 PM

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The year before Gennaro Cerminara ’19 enrolled, the Muhlenberg wrestling team won a grand total of two bouts at the NCAA East Regional. The year before that, the Mules sent only two wrestlers to the Centennial Conference Championships.

“I kind of knew what I was getting myself into in that sense,” he says. “The biggest thing for me was knowing that even if I didn’t reach the pinnacle of individual success, I would help set up the team for success for years and years to come.”

Cerminara made good on the former and really good on the latter. A two-time Centennial Conference champion at 197 pounds, he finished his career with a record of 89-34 and tied the program record of 50 career pins. He missed qualifying for the NCAA Division III Championships by one point in a regional semifinal.

As for the team, under the leadership of Head Coach Jason McLean ’01 (Muhlenberg’s first All-American in wrestling), the Mules came in fourth at the CC Championships, just four points out of second place, and sixth at the NCAA regional, ahead of such established programs as State University of New York (SUNY) College at Cortland, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Oswego and Ursinus College.

And the team should only continue to get better. Cerminara, the nephew of Muhlenberg Trustee Emeritus Joan Triano ’81, is the only member not expected to return next season.

Cerminara combined with Dylan Schwartz ’20 and Jimmy Fratantoni ’19 (a redshirt junior) to give the Mules three CC gold medalists for the first time since 2007. Fratantoni and Austin Sherman ’20 also narrowly missed qualifying for nationals. Fifteen different Mules, six of them freshmen, placed at a tournament during the 2018-19 season.

“I think that was the reason I wasn’t super upset on the bus ride home or after my last match,” says Cerminara, whose record-tying pin came in his final match. “Even though it’s over, just knowing that I contributed to something that will stand the test of time—that’s the biggest thing.”