The Gift of Life Tournament: Wrestling Raises Awareness for Organ Donations

At the Hive last Saturday, the St. Benedict’s Preparatory School varsity wrestling team hosted the annual Gift of Life Donors Tournament. Four schools competed: SBP, Barringer High School, Nutley High School, and Northern Valley Regional High School.

The Gray Bees kicked off the day with a 59-18 win against Northern Valley Regional High School. After that win, the team took a quick break, and then prepared for their second match. The Gray Bees defeated Barringer High School with a score of 76-3, finishing with 6 pins in 14 different weight classes.

Shortly after the second match of the tournament, Michael DiPiano Sr. H ‘82, hosted a presentation. DiPiano Sr. is the father of the Gray Bees assistant head coach, Frank DiPiano ‘01.

“If organ donors weren’t a thing, I wouldn’t even be alive right now,” he said.

DiPiano is a double-transplant recipient who has been fighting for organ donor awareness for over twenty years. He explained how the Gift of Life Duals tournament is more than a wrestling match; it is a match that has saved hundreds of lives. During the presentation, the members of the Gift of Life donors committee introduced themselves and spoke about their experiences with organ donation.

The last battle of the day didn’t give the Gray Bees a break; it was an intense, back-and-forth battle against Nutley High School. Although Andrew D’Arcy ‘22 won 15-7, and Anthony Augustine ‘20 won with a quick pin, Benedict’s still trailed Nutley 23-36 as they approached the last few weight classes of the match.

Head captain Damon Wright ‘19 finished with a great win to boost his team’s spirits.

“I knew as a Captain that my team needed someone who was going to change the emotions on the bench,” he said.

However, the Gray Bees could not get back on their feet. Though they performed outstandingly, the Grey Bees lost 29-48 to Nutley High School. This earned them second place at the tournament, with a record of 2-1.