By Al Vilar

The CYO St. Leonard’s Nazzaro Center Knights 2016 High School Division State Championship team has finally received some overdue recognition!

The 2016 North End Knights were two-time league champions. They made the State Championship in 2015, but were defeated. In 2016, this same team was determined to advance farther, and they did just that by making it to the Regional Tournament finals held in Connecticut. This was the farthest a North End CYO team has advanced in this league in the twenty years of its existence. 

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This team was led by Coaches Joseph Valarese, Kenneth Lanza & Michael Mustacchio. The players were Ryan Alves, Alex Balzano Vance Battersby Grassa, Jase Cherchi, Evan Frechette, Peter Luongo, Tim Martin, Nicolas Mustacchio, Lorenzo Pantaleo, Michael Pittore, Anthony Ruzzo, Christopher Troiano, Michael Troiano, and Guarino Vilar.  They were a team in every sense of the word, playing and hustling for each other. Each player contributed to this historic run and they should be applauded for accomplishing such a great feat. 

Thanks to the generosity of the Madonna Della Cava Club, which donated the banner, and to the Nazzaro Recreation Center Director Steven Siciliano, who donated space for this little party, a celebratory night was finally possible.

This team was cut from the same stone as the North End where it is understood that to accomplish anything you need to work hard, be passionate, and be determined. The team looks forward to seeing the banner hanging in the Nazzaro Center gym where other Knights teams can draw inspiration as they look to the scoreboard and banner. Other teams can say that, with hard work, passion, and determination, our team has the opportunity to reach and attain those same high goals.

The 2016 Knights wish that another North End team will accomplish the same feat as them and perhaps win the Regional Tournament Championship! Thanks to everyone involved for helping make this a great time. 

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