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AltoSTRONG at Outdoor Wrestling Festival

This is the 2nd year in a row Walt Whitman hosted the Outdoor Wrestling Festival in honor of the late husband, father, teacher and coach, Vincent Altebrando. thumbnail120475
This is the 2nd year in a row Walt Whitman hosted the Outdoor Wrestling Festival in honor of the late husband, father, teacher and coach, Vincent Altebrando.
The proceeds raised from the event go to both the Walt Whitman wrestling team and to the Altebrando family. thumbnail120382
The proceeds raised from the event go to both the Walt Whitman wrestling team and to the Altebrando family.
It was amazing to see so many schools across Long Island come together with our South Huntington community to support the Altebrando’s and participate in Vin’s memory.  thumbnail120384
It was amazing to see so many schools across Long Island come together with our South Huntington community to support the Altebrando’s and participate in Vin’s memory.
There were 291 athletes who participated in the festival from middle schools and high schools across Long Island.  thumbnail120385
There were 291 athletes who participated in the festival from middle schools and high schools across Long Island.
Wildcat wrestlers stayed focused on Whitman’s turf field.  thumbnail120391
Wildcat wrestlers stayed focused on Whitman’s turf field.
The festival is rain or shine, and it was a beautiful Saturday for athletes and spectators to be outdoors.  thumbnail120387
The festival is rain or shine, and it was a beautiful Saturday for athletes and spectators to be outdoors.
Our Wildcat wrestlers paid tribute to Coach Altebrando by participating in a number of matches throughout the day. thumbnail120388
Our Wildcat wrestlers paid tribute to Coach Altebrando by participating in a number of matches throughout the day.
Angela and baby Biancamano came out to support the Altebrando family and pay tribute to the amazing husband and father that he was.  thumbnail120392
Angela and baby Biancamano came out to support the Altebrando family and pay tribute to the amazing husband and father that he was.
This event passes on Vin’s legacy as a coach and mentor for our South Huntington Community and will continue for years to come.  thumbnail120390
This event passes on Vin’s legacy as a coach and mentor for our South Huntington Community and will continue for years to come.

The 2nd Annual Vin Altebrando Outdoor Summer Festival couldn't have been more of a success. With this being the only wrestling tournament to be held entirely outside on Long Island, this event was a real trailblazer. The tournament held on Saturday, June 8th hosted 291 wrestlers on five different mats. There were two separate divisions that the wrestlers could compete in, 6th through 8th grade and 9th through 12th grade.

This event brought so many people together for such a great cause. Some of the proceeds went to the Altebrando family and the rest went to the Walt Whitman High School Wrestling team. The person responsible for starting it is Chris Cardella. As coach of Whitman’s wrestling team, Cardella and his wrestlers did so much to ensure that everyone had a great day. “It gives these kids an opportunity to get out of the gym and wrestle in the cool atmosphere,” said Cardella.  This outdoor tournament wasn’t only his idea. Vincent Altebando, which this event is honoring, actually came up with the idea for this tournament and tried it. “Vinny talked about doing an outside tournament and I said let’s do it. He tried it a few years back and it didn’t really take off,” said Cardella. “When he passed away I felt like I owed it to him to give it a real good try and get this thing going. I wanted his vision to come true and we worked hard last year and this year, it's been tough but it seemed to be going well.”

It was a great afternoon with everyone either wrestling or enjoying the matches. Even a team from Puerto Rico was there. After an unfortunate hurricane destroyed the team’s home, Long Beach wrestlers started to house them. To help them through this tough time, Walt Whitman wrestling waved the entrance fee and also donated to their team. “My team has done a great job helping out the Booster Club, volunteering every chance they have and being able to help out this team from Puerto Rico and getting them on the mats so they don't have to worry about the expenses, which is great,” said Cardella. “We are really teaching our students that you need to give back in this world.”

Next year Mr. Cardella would like to see more mats at the event. Wrestlers had to be turned away who wanted to compete due to the fact that there were only 5 mats. “I love the sport of wrestling, it is my passion and I want kids to be able to wrestle and having to turn them away was tough for me because I want all kids to be able to have the opportunity to wrestle.” Next year he hopes to have 7 to 8 mats so he can include more wrestlers. Mr. Cardella wants to thank Sweet Hollow Bakery and Port Jeff Trophy Hut for their support, but most of all the parents and grandparents of his wrestlers for all they do. “It's nice to know that he [Vin Altebrando] is probably looking down and saying ‘cool, this is what I wanted and it's actually happening.’”