Justin Belanger was named head coach for the inaugural wrestling team at Notre Dame-West Haven, the school announced recently. Notre Dame announced in July that it would add wrestling as the school’s 13th varsity sport.
The Green Knights’ first official meet will be on Dec. 14 at Terryville. Fifteen student-athletes have joined the team for the inaugural season, according to a press release by the school.
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 2018.
Notre Dame has had wrestling success in recent years fielding a team of individual wrestlers. Wrestling became an official part of the athletic
program in 2008 when Joshua Morales became the first Notre Dame student-athlete to don a Notre Dame wrestling uniform. He participated for
three years, affiliating himself with the Cheshire High wrestling program. Following Morales, Camilo Vanegas competed in the heavyweight division and captured the Green Knights’ first SCC title at the league championship meet in February 2014.
“Justin’s background in wrestling and working with student-athletes separated him from the pack in the interview process,” said Notre Dame athletic director Tom Marcucci in a press release. “He is a welcomed addition to our coaching family, and we know he will have success over time with our wrestling program.”