Phil Conigliaro ’18 was recently honored by the Massachusetts Wrestling Hall of Fame as its Wrestler of the Year. Phil had a remarkable career at Belmont Hill, as he captured first place at the 2016 Beast of the East and was runner-up in 2017, 2017 National Prep Champion, four-time Prep All-American, and four-time Prep New England Champion, among numerous other honors.
Wrestling at Harvard, Phil was a unanimous choice as First Team All-Ivy as a freshman and qualified for the National Championships, which were canceled due to the pandemic. He placed third at the EIWA Championships at 165 pounds. The honors continued this year as a sophomore as he won the 165-pound title at the EIWA Championships, and again qualified for the NCAA Championships, reaching the round of 12 as the No. 8 seed at 165 pounds. He also earned First Team All-Ivy honors unanimously as well as Academic All-Ivy accolades. Additionally, he captured the EIWA Academic Achievement Award.
Phil believes that he has had the best experience he could have asked for as a student-athlete at Harvard. “I could not have accomplished what I was able to this year if it was not for my amazing coaching staff and supportive teammates,” he states. “We have many great wrestlers on the team returning, so I expect the Harvard wrestling team to do very well next year.” Though he fell short of his goal this year of becoming an All-American, he emphasizes that he will use that as motivation for next year.
He says that he was ecstatic when he received the call from the Mass Wrestling Hall of Fame. “I remember when I was in Middle School seeing older college kids winning this award and thinking that it was a great accomplishment that I could one day receive,” he recalls. “Belmont Hill not only taught me how to perform at the highest level in the classroom, but also taught me how to perform at the highest level on the wrestling mat. None of what I have accomplished this far in my wrestling career could have happened if it were not for the Belmont Hill wrestling coaching staff comprising coaches Leonardis, Bradley, Davis, and Kaplan.”
Varsity wrestling coach Don Bradley admires Phil for far more than his wrestling skills. “As superb a wrestler as Phil was at Belmont Hill,” he notes, “he was an equally good teammate and leader.”