Lakewood Wrestling Coach Receives 'Coach of the Year' Honors
Vince Curiale's squad has three wrestlers qualify for the state tournament — the most in 50 years.
The Lakewood High School wrestling team posted a record of 7-8 at dual meets this season.
But don’t let that fool you.
That record doesn’t mean too much to head coach Vince Curiale — and it doesn't mean much to wrestling coaches across Northeast Ohio, who awarded him with Wrestling Coach of the Year honors.
Starting each match without as many as five weight classes, the squad was still one of the best that the program has had in years. The last time the district sent three wrestlers to a state tournament, Curiale hadn't even been born yet.
And last week, at a special awards banquet, the Greater Cleveland Coaches Association let Curiale know how it felt about his program.
“When your peers nominate you, it means a lot — that other coaches recognize the good things happening with your program,” he said.
Curiale, who was nominated for the distinction once before in 2004, said the wrestlers’ performances in tournament action is where the program really shined.
“This is one of the best tournament teams we’ve had,” he said. “Our league schedule is tough, and we try to keep that going with some other non-conference solid teams. We do that because we get our talented kids some good matches. The other kids mature and step up to wrestle at the next level.”
The school sent three wrestlers to the state tournament — the most in 50 years.
Nick Ramsey, a senior 135-pound wrestler, finished fifth in the state standings and Yousef Abdel-Salem, a senior 119-pounder, finished eighth. His brother, William Abdel-Salem, also qualified for the state tournament in the 130-pound weight class.
This isn’t the first time the program has found success. Curiale remembers one year his squad went 21-4, and there have been other squads that have sent wrestlers to the state tournament.
The last time Lakewood High School had two placers in the state tournament was 1989 — and Curiale was one them.
“This is right up there with those teams,” he said. “We accomplished some things with this team that hasn’t been done in years.”
“People who know wrestling and know the district we’re in, know that this is pretty good.”
This is Curiale’s 22nd year coaching wrestling. He's been the head coach in Lakewood for 12 years.
Now, he can add a very special distinction to his career.
“It’s nice to have someone recognize that your program is making strides,” Curiale said. “We’re looking forward to having another exciting year next year.”