The Jefferson High School wrestling team captured its 13th consecutive traditional state title last weekend in Macon at the Macon Coliseum, the site of the festivities where Ben Kelly, two-time state champ Tyler Marinelli, Jace McClosky and Chase Piperato earned state titles in their respective weight classes.
Piperato, who represented the 106 weight class, defeated Easton Mathis of Armuchee High School in round one, then beat Hunter Hemmings from Greater Atlanta Christian School and Kyler Allen from Lovett High School in the finals. Piperato said he took a peek at the bracket but did not get intimidated by the lineup.
“I did [see] a little bit [of the bracket] however, our coach tells us not to get too caught up in who we have to wrestle against,” said Piperato.
Pre-match jitters set in but he remained confident in his ability to compete at his full potential.
“I was a little nervous,” said Piperto. “I had expectations this whole year and the moment was finally here to show and prove all you’ve done and try to get the big win.”
Piperato managed everything from his nervousness to his diet in order to stay ahead of his challengers.
“You have to keep your diet right and you have to be ready for every single match; you can’t take your opponent lightly because if you do, you may not make it back the next day,” stated Piperato.
The team was well aware that Bremen High School would be in the running for the title and stayed close to Jefferson yet the Dragons were not ready to relinquish their winning streak.
“It means a lot. Our team [knows the] pressure of keeping it going,” said Piperato. “No one wants to be the team to break the streak. We had a little bit of a scare Friday. Bremen was [starting to] get a little bit closer [to us].”
Piperato, who fell just shy of the title last year, sought redemption by sailing through the tournament and earned his ring in just one day.
“It means a lot. There’s a lot [of good competition] out there. [I] came up short last year but I put in a lot of hard work this season. It would have been nice to have the opportunity to be a four-time state champion but [I’m glad I won this year],” said Piperato, a sophomore.