ND Wrestling Team
Notre Dame debuted its 13th varsity sport in the winter of 2016-17 when a full-fledged wrestling program was launched. In most of the last decade, Notre Dame fielded a “team of one” on the wrestling scene. Joshua Morales ‘10 became the first Notre Dame student-athlete to don a Notre Dame wrestling uniform when he participated from 2008-2010 affiliating himself with the Cheshire HS wrestling program. Following Morales, Camilo Vanegas ‘14 brought distinction to the Notre Dame wrestling scene when he competed in the heavyweight division and captured the Green Knights first SCC title by pinning Fairfield Prep’s Nick Crowle in February of 2014. In the winter of 2015-16, Connor Massey ‘19 and Christian Fillion ‘19 represented Notre Dame on the wrestling scene. Both reside in Branford and participated with the West Haven/Platt Tech coop team. In its first season this winter, the program will compete against teams of its caliber and in dual meets before jumping into a full SCC schedule in the winter of 2017-18. Notre Dame competes in the ultra competitive Southern Connecticut Conference, a league comprised of 23 schools in the greater-New Haven area that has won over 400 state championships since the league’s inception in 1994.
Head Coach Justin Belanger (2016-17 first year)
Justin Belanger comes to Notre Dame with a strong wrestling background. A two-time all-New England selection out of Exeter/West Greenwich High School in Rhode Island, Belanger’s exploits in high school were astounding. A four-time conference champion and three-time state champion, Belanger was the 2006 Rhode Island Wrestler of the Year. He went on to wrestle at Old Dominion University and transferred to Sacred Heart University on scholarship. He was a four-year starter and two-year captain for the Pioneers. A 2012 graduate of Sacred Heart, Belanger also has a Masters of Exercise Science and Nutrition from SHU and is scheduled to receive his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree from the University of Bridgeport in May of 2018. He assisted in the foundation of F.I.T. Wrestling Club in Fairfield that offers teams of different age groups a chance to focus on fundamentals and develop into a successful wrestler. He also works as a sports performance specialist at Jim Ronai’s Competitive Edge Sports Performance Training. He has previously served as Head Wrestling and Strength and Conditioning Coach at SHU, with strength and conditioning experience at Quinnipiac University and Evolution Sports Performance in Easton, Mass.