|Title:||Class of 2014|
Rich DeStefano was a standout heavyweight wrestler that won a New England championship as an individual and was a part of two team championship-winning teams.
DeStefano boasted a 30-5 record with 13 pins over a three-year career on Boynton Hill. The three-time All-New England performer climbed the ladder at the regional competition beginning with a third-place finish following an 11-0 campaign that featured eight pins.
“Rich as a "light heavyweight" used great technique and speed to outperform and win most of his matches,” commented Hall of Fame coach Phil Grebinar. “He was a fierce competitor who was always prepared to put forth his best efforts for the team.”
His single-season pin percentage of .727 and five consecutive pins to close out the 1992–93 dual match slate are both tied for second in the Engineers record book.
As a junior, DeStefano registered a second place showing after a 12-1 season with three pins. He closed out his career with the New England title, while helping the Crimson and Gray take home their second straight NECCWA team crown. He accomplished all of this while being a member of the Marines ROTC.
“Rich will always be remembered for his great performance in the closing bout of New England Championships at Roger Williams,” continued Grebinar. “Going into the final bout, WPI needed Rich not only to win but to score pin points for a WPI team victory. Cool and confident, Rich proceeded to win with a pin, giving him the championship at heavyweight as well as giving the team another New England team championship.”
“In the first period, Rich shoots his patented single to a knee-tap dump and puts his opponent straight to his back and pins him,” remembered Hall of Fame teammate Garrett Trombi. “Our whole team just went crazy and nearly stormed the mat. I’m not sure the people in the stands (nor Williams) understood the implications, but we did.”
A native of North Reading, Rich graduated from WPI in 1995 with a degree in management information systems. After graduation, he became a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, where he flew helicopters as a naval aviator for ten years. He is now working in the defense industry. He also enjoys coaching wrestling for the local wrestling club in his area. He lives in Groveland with his wife, Patti, and their children, Megan and Richard.
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