Jean DePlacido column: Malo snags heavyweight crown at Italian nationals

Ryan Malo won the Italian national heavyweight title in a wrestling tournament last weekend. Courtesy photo

Ryan Malo had a terrific wrestling career at St. John’s Prep and Williams College. Now he can add Italian National heavyweight champion to his impressive list of victories.

Malo spent seven years trying to get dual citizenship in order to compete in the Italian Aboslute Wrestling Tourney which is held once a year.

This past weekend he got his wish, and won all five matches decisively, 10-5, 10-0, 8-0, and 7-0. Malo defeated Salvatore Crisanti in the finals to take the title and a huge trophy. He is currently in his last semester at Georgetown law, intends to take the Pennsylvania bar exam and work in an office in Philadelphia.

Fortunately, the Italian Tournament was held during Malo’s last week of winter break.

“It was a great weekend, a lot of fun,” he said. “I went with Colin Curzi, who is from New Jersey. He’s a best friend from my wrestling days at Williams. He coached me and updated my family on how the matches were going.”

Malo wrestled in the 125 kilo class which is 265 pound heavyweights, but his actual weight is around 230 pounds. He was in contact with the AS Borgo Prati Westling Club in Rome, and once the team saw what Malo could do they wanted him to stay in Itally to wrestle in other tournaments.

“I had a conversation with the coaches, and they asked to stay around for a few more tournaments that are coming up,” said Malo. “I explained I was in law school and had to go back, but I may return at some point.”

Malo has always kept in top shape, working out at Doughboys in Lowell and at the Prep. He started pursuing a law degree at Rutgers before transferring to Georgetown where he has spent the past two years. Being in the D.C. area, he has been able to work out with the George Mason University wrestling team.

A visit to Italy with family back in 2012 started the quest to become an Italian citizen so that he would be eligible to compete there.

“I have cousins in Naples, and we went to visit family eight years ago,” he said. “It took me seven years to finally get dual citizenship with all the red tape involved. Last summer I got my Italian passport, and wrestling there has always been something I dreamed about.

“I’ve always loved wrestling, and freestyle is what I’m best at. It’s one of two styles in international competition along with Greco-Roman. Even though I’ve been busy with school I never let wrestling go, but kept in shape. I just turned 30, and to be honest I’m pretty sore right now after the tournament, but I’m so lucky to have this opportunity. When it comes along you have to grab it.”

Malo is now eligible to represent Italy in the Olympics, but he will have to wait to hear from the Italian Federation.

“There’s a long road to qualify, but I’ll never say no to anything. That would be hard to do because I’ll be joining the working world in a few months, but I would definitely want to compete in another tournament in Italy. They had a very nice medals ceremony and presented me with a certificate and trophy.”

Malo was inducted into the St. John’s Prep Hall of Fame in 2018. The 2007 graduate was a two year captain for coach Manny Costa, Division 1 state individual champion in both his junior and senior years and won both All-States and New England’s in his senior year. He was an Academic All American, and Wrestling USA All-American as a senior.

After transferring to Williams College from BU, Malo was a three time All-American and two time national finalist. He went on to wrestle at the University of Virginia while getting his Master’s degree. This was not the first time Malo has wrestled abroad, competing successfully in Russia in 2010 and Thailand four years later.


John Boyle, longtime Prep coach, has been named Eastern Mass. Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year by the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association. The Eagles had a terrific season in not only the Catholic Conference but also at the state and All-State levels. Boyle is a dedicated coach who develops talent every year and is never one to seek credit or acclaim. This is a well deserved honor, given to a boys and girls coach from Eastern, Central, and Western corners of the state.


You can contact Jean DePlacido at


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