That "Malfaro" name is certainly a familiar one throughout Boyertown wrestling circles, what with his older siblings having created a legacy of mat talent and victories galore.
And lo and behold ... this rendition, the last in a line of Malfaro brothers, may very well be the best of the bunch.
After a 5-0 day at the January 9 (and highly-competitive) Cumberland Valley Duals, BASH senior Matt Malfaro advanced to 18-3 on the season and 126-39 career.
And those numbers only tell a portion of the story.
This Malfaro /grappler has (without exaggeration) moved to the next level of the Pennsylvania scholastic sport. He's a legitimate PIAA State Tournament medal-contender. And he's already made a verbal commitment to wrestle at NCAA-Division 1 Bloomsburg University.
As he reflected on the Bears' 3-2 (topsy-turvy) day at the Cumberland Valley classic, Malfaro offered, "We did pretty good today ... and we'll see soon about the District One Duals and then Team States."
On their 44-27 setback to top-ranked Central Dauphin: "We thought we had a good shot, actually ... but then (teammate) Jeremy (Minich) got hurt earlier in the day (head injury) and we had some other unexpected problems ... that made a big difference."
In terms of his personal accomplishments to date: "Overall, I'm feeling pretty good right now ... a handful of close losses have actually made me better ... I just have to keep working hard in the practice room."
The 119-pounder's credentials are volume-speakers.
As a promising freshman, Malfaro went 38-11 and qualified for the PIAA Individual State Championships. His 29-17 sophomore campaign was a bit of a disappointment; and there was no post-season trip to Hershey.
A year ago, the Malfaro magic resurfaced. His 41-8 season included titles on the Section 4-AAA and the District 1-Central AAA mats. And he was a runner-up at the Southeast Regional-AAA tournament. That latter performance earned him a berth at States.
"I've turned it up a notch this year ... I had a good season a year ago, but this is my senior season. I haven't gotten a (state) medal yet ... and I believe I can place in the top four this time."
The journey's been a long one.
Malfaro began wrestling as a first-grader ... and now he's setting his sights on a collegiate mat career at Bloomsburg.
"I could possibly wrestle at 133 (pounds) for Bloomsburg ... but I have to get a little bigger for that."
He's talking about majoring in health/physics on the collegiate level.
And what about team goals?
"We certainly hope we can win the District One Duals ... and it would be nice to place in the top four at (team) States."
Matt Malfaro, his maturity-driven confidence providing the impetus, is en route to a most splendid conclusion to an amazing BASH wrestling sojourn.
NOTE: Jim Davidheiser is a freelance contributor to Berks-Mont Newspapers; contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 610-367-5215.