This past season, he pinned the 11th grader who placed 3rd in the Florida High School States. He pinned the 12th grader who placed 4th in the Florida High School States. He was a High School State Placer. He was a High School Region Champ. He was a High School County Champ. He was a High School District Champ. Named First Team All-County by Florida Today/USA Today, he had a 40 – 8 High School record (with 32 pins and 4 tech falls). With 90% of his wins being pins and tech falls, he was in the top 5 highest Pin/TF % in the entire state for wrestlers with over 30 wins. He scored back points in all of his matches that he wrestled (except 3), so in almost 95% of his matches he put his opponents on their backs; that puts him in the Top 5 for all High School wrestlers in the State of Florida who wrestled at least 30 matches. And over the past year, he beat 24 wrestlers who were High School State Placers/Qualifiers this past season – and he has defeated 32 High School wrestlers who are currently ranked in the Top 20 in the state, including last week defeating the #2 ranked 11th grader who placed 3rd in the Florida High School States (in the weight class one heavier than him), increasing his post-season record to 40 – 4. Accordingly, in the post-season, he has already equaled the number of wins he attained during the regular season. These statistics are particularly astounding, showing absolute dominance for a high school wrestler.
So, who is this high school senior or junior who has carried out all these accomplishments, you ask? Nope, he’s not a senior or junior. Okay, then who is this aberrational sophomore (could it possibly be a freshman)? Nope, not a sophomore or freshman either. In fact, this kid is not in high school at all. It’s Mario Del Vecchio, an 8th grader. Yup, you read that correctly. Del Vecchio is an 8th grader, wrestling for Cocoa Beach High School. And as Florida’s most-frequented wrestling Facebook page and website – The Florida Wrestling Room – noted in a post earlier this week, Del Vecchio is “a true 8th grader, he was never held back.”
Finding some of these statistics so hard to fathom, ESN spent several hours verifying them on TrackWrestling; and yes, they’re all straight up facts. Watching many of Del Vecchio’s matches (hundreds of them can be found on a private YouTube channel going through personal Facebook pages, in addition to many on TrackWrestling and FloArena), the viewer indeed sees complete domination, in addition to a relentless competitor. Not only a pin-master, Del Vecchio is known for incredibly fast pins, with a selection of videos of high school very quick pins here: Pins Opponent in 10 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 11 Seconds, Pins Another Opponent in 11 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 12 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 14 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 18 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 23 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 27 Seconds. The significantly older ages of his opponents just doesn’t factor, nor does an opponent being heavier than him (he often wrestles up in weight class).
Del Vecchio, who is 14 (he will turn 15 at the end of September), ultimately placed 6th at the FHSAA State Tournament at 113 lbs this season. That 6th place finish, while extraordinary for a middle schooler (especially since 4 of his States’ matches were against seniors, one against a junior, and one against a freshman), doesn’t really provide the accurate ranking in the state for his weight class/division: in addition to pinning the 7th place finisher (a senior), as detailed at the beginning of this article, he also pinned the 3rd & 4th place finishers (a junior & senior), so Del Vecchio is more like 2nd or 3rd in the state in terms of overall rankings. Here is just one of his victories from the Florida States (as can be seen on TrackWrestling). And here’s another of his wins from that FHSAA Tournament.
In winning the championship at the Cape Coast Conference Tournament – Brevard County’s county tournament – Del Vecchio was the only 8th grader in the finals (and there was only one 9th grader in the finals, the rest were upper classmen). He also was the first 8th grader in his school’s history to win that tournament. And the Florida Today/USA Today newspaper named him as the only 8th grader to the 2023 All Space Coast Wrestling Team – First Team High School All County. Furthering this trend, last month, Cocoa Beach High School presented this 8th grader with its 2022-2023 Most Outstanding Wrestler award. Additionally, the school issued Del Vecchio awards for: Most Wins, Most Pins, Most Tech Falls, and Highest Placement in the States. Pictured are the varied trophies and medals he took home from that team ceremony.
Social media postings help demonstrate the type of wrestler – and person – who Del Vecchio is. In one post, Del Vecchio said, “There were 5 other middle school kids who were Region Champs in Florida. It’s cool to be in a group with these great wrestlers.” The word “cool” is a bit humble because, as The Florida Wrestling Room headlined in an article, “Out of 2,688 High School Region Participants in Florida, Just 6 True Middle Schoolers are Region Champs” (Del Vecchio was one of those extraordinary middle school wrestlers). Regarding those 3rd & 4th state placers who he pinned (one was in the first round at the State Tournament and the other was in the Region finals), Del Vecchio stated in a post, “Yeah definitely proud of those wins, but they’ve gotten me too. Have to say we’re all about even. Got a lot of respect for those guys.” And Del Vecchio, who you can see in numerous social media photos and videos wearing a Jesus Trained t-shirt and doing the sign of the cross before each match, ends most of his social media posts with “All Glory to God.”
In not stopping – at all – since the State Tournament, as detailed earlier herein, social media posts show he’s nearly undefeated in 40 post-season matches. See match from a few weeks ago where Del Vecchio defeats a top high school wrestler from Maryland. In profiling Del Vecchio’s performance last month at one of America’s biggest national tournaments, the Adidas Nationals in Missouri, a post on The Florida Wrestling Room declared:
“Mario Del Vecchio – 4th Place in 8th grade 115 lbs. Del Vecchio, who had a very dominant 4 wins that included 3 pins (27 sec, 1:29 & 2:05) and a 9-2 win, wrestled in the largest size bracket in the tournament—a 22 man bracket. Only 2 points separated him from the 1st Place and 2nd Place finishers. Del Vecchio lost a super close 3-2 semifinals match to the kid who took 2nd Place (and that kid lost by one point in the finals)—meaning Del Vecchio and the top 2 finishers were all very close. Notable wins in this tournament: Del Vecchio’s wins included beating a High School State Placer (5th) from Florida, a Middle School State Champ from New Mexico, and a Middle School State Champ from Louisiana. These particularly fierce competition wins (and him being in the biggest bracket) make it so that Del Vecchio really stands out on this list.” Here’s one of his wins from the Adidas Nationals (as can be seen on FloArena). And here’s another of his victories from that national tournament.
In response to his Adidas performance and national standing, Del Vecchio wrote in a social media post, “Very happy with we’re I’m at, maybe I’m in top 10 or so at this point for my age and weight. Still have to keep working, learning. Won’t ever underestimate anyone, but won’t ever overestimate anyone either. My dad’s advice, and he’s right on with that.”
No doubt that Del vecchio is in that top 10 range nationally at this point, as a wrestler. But where he’s in his own, unique, #1 – call it one-and-only status – is as a true modern-day Renaissance Boy. A sidenote: his father (mentioned above), Kenneth Del Vecchio has, for years, been labeled by media as a “modern-day Renaissance Man” (will detail some about him below). The younger Del Vecchio has also, for some time now, been afforded this similar headline – as “Renaissance Boy.”
Going along with his wrestling prowess, Del Vecchio is a weightlifting phenom as well. It’s often said that a man who can bench press his weight 10 times is a pretty strong guy. But what about a 14-year-old boy? Just last month, Del Vecchio, now 125 lbs, pressed 135 lbs for 20 reps on decline bench press (see video here). Anyone who understands weightlifting knows that this is truly phenomenal for a kid his age/weight—that’s 10 more pounds than a 14-year-old’s weight, that he pressed for 20 reps. That’s amazing.
And these stunning weightlifting feats by Del Vecchio have been going on for quite some time. If one looks up the nation’s record (actually the world record) on AAU for flat bench press – for a 114 lbs 13-year-old – AAU lists it as 138.9 lbs. Well, on the day before Del Vecchio turned 14, he broke that record, in bench-pressing 140 lbs on flat bench while weighing 113 lbs (see video here). Of course, as Del Vecchio’s father noted in a Facebook post with the video, there are multiple different organizations that list records, plus Del Vecchio’s lift was in the gym (not a competition)—but, still, this has to place the kid in about the top 5 in the country for his weight/age. Just eight months later, Del Vecchio’s max flat bench press is now significantly higher than the 140 lbs mark he hit the day before his birthday.
Yes, it’s genetics. The Renaissance Man father, Kenneth Del Vecchio – a very outspoken critic of steroid users – was/is one of the pound-for-pound strongest men in the country. In winning many drug-free competitions in his teens, 20s and 30s, Del Vecchio, at one point, maxed out at 385 lbs while weighing 165 lbs on flat bench (which put him in about the top 5 nationally). And, in an absolutely staggering lift, on decline bench he pressed 450 lbs while weighing 165 lbs. Just about a month ago, Del Vecchio, now 54 – and weighing 170 lbs – bench-pressed 225 lbs for 23 reps on decline (see video here). For his age/weight, that has to put him #1 in the country—what other 54-year-old at that weight could do that? Actually, what guy at any age (at 170 lbs) can bench press 225 lbs for 23 reps? Kenneth Del Vecchio, a bit of a controversial individual with a bit of an ego-maniac-type persona as described more fully later in this article, remarked in his Facebook post about that lift, “I believe that’s more weight/reps than most guys in the NFL.” In checking, ESN couldn’t find anyone under 175 lbs in the NFL (WR, CB, Safety types) who can do that, so go for the personal props.
Back to the Renaissance Boy, Mario Del Vecchio. Not as well-known about him is an overall successful MMA-type background that the kid rarely acknowledges, saying in a post,”It’s really all about wrestling to me. Folksyle wrestling. I don’t want to be one of those types who tries do everything in combat sports. Most of the time, that doesn’t work out too well.” Also sometimes not noted is that Del Vecchio is a standout student, who primarily receives straight A’s. “I missed a few times, though,” Del Vecchio wrote in a social media post. Beyond the standard fare of academia, however, is that Del Vecchio has a photographic memory, a rare ability that has greatly benefitted him in an exciting, artistic career path (this ability, and its usefulness, is more aptly described by a film and TV actress below).
Yup, Del Vecchio has an acting career. A real acting career – in real movies with real movie stars. And he is represented by a leading agent.
Having acted in over 10 movies – all feature films that star multiple Oscar winners and nominees – Del Vecchio has played the lead role in two movies: A Wrestling Christmas Miracle and A Karate Christmas Miracle. Del Vecchio is represented by BMG, one of the leading child acting agencies, which has offices in NYC, LA, and Atlanta.
Starring Martin Kove (“Cobra Kai”; The Karate Kid), Gilbert Gottfried (Emmy nominee; Problem Child), Scott Schwartz (A Christmas Story; The Toy), Jimmie Walker (Golden Globe nominee; “Good Times”), Michael Winslow (Police Academy; Spaceballs), Todd Bridges (“Different Strokes”; “Everybody Hates Chris”), Julie McCullough (“Growing Pains”; Sharknado), Buddy Fitzpatrick (American Criminal), and Mario Del Vecchio (A Karate Christmas Miracle), A Wrestling Christmas Miracle is an inspirational, funny, thrill-ride family Christmas movie. Here is the film’s trailer.
Starring Eric Roberts (Academy Award nominee; Best of the Best; The Expendables),“Cobra Kai” star Martin Kove (The Karate Kid; Rambo), Julie McCullough (“Growing Pains”; Sharknado), and Mario Del Vecchio (A Wrestling Christmas Miracle), A Karate Christmas Miracle is an inspirational, thrill-ride family Christmas movie. Here is the film’s trailer.
USA Today and The Record, one of New Jersey’s largest daily newspapers, reporting about Del Vecchio’s acting exploits (and his photographic memory), wrote (see entire article here):
“He hasn’t missed a line; a word. It’s highly unusual,” Julie McCullough said during a break in filming Sunday. “I knew he had it in him, but to carry a whole feature, I wasn’t sure.”
A straight-A student at Highland Elementary School in Midland Park, Mario comes off as a seasoned pro on set, said McCullough, who has had a guest-starring role on “Growing Pains” and other popular TV sitcoms.
“He knows the script. He takes direction. And he has the look,” McCullough said.
“He’s a little girls’ dream,” McCullough said.
It’s difficult to talk about Mario Del Vecchio – who many would also say is a wrestling coach’s dream (based on reading so many different coaches’ praiseworthy comments about him, as a wrestler and person, in social media posts) – without some more talk about his father, Kenneth Del Vecchio—who many say is “this [professional’s/person’s] dream”, but who many others say is “this [professional’s/person’s] nightmare.” ESN has, like so many other media outlets, profiled the older Del Vecchio on multiple occasions. The positive/negative nature of his coverage by ESN, as elsewhere, depends upon who’s reporting about him.
The facts about Kenneth Del Vecchio are correctly stated in this below bio—his accomplishments are extraordinary. He’s definitely a one-and-only, like his son:
Kenneth Del Vecchio is an acclaimed filmmaker who has written, produced and directed over 30 movies that star several Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees. His films are distributed through industry leaders such as Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Millennium Entertainment, Cinedigm, Screen Media Films, Anchor Bay, Gravitas Ventures, and eOne Entertainment. He has starred in numerous movies, as well. Mr. Del Vecchio is founder and chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival, called by FOX, Time Warner, and other major media “One of the 10 Biggest Film Festivals in the World.” He also is the author of some of the nation’s best-selling legal books, including a series of criminal codebooks published by Pearson Education/Prentice Hall and ALM. A best-selling criminal suspense novelist, he penned his first published novel at only 24-years-old. In addition, he has appeared as a legal analyst on hundreds of TV news shows for major news networks (Fox News, i24 News, Newsmax). He is the owner of the Criminal Law Learning Center, where he has taught thousands of police officers and lawyers…And he is a former Judge, who also has tried over 400 cases as a practicing commercial litigation, criminal defense, and entertainment law attorney; he is a partner at the law firm Stern, Kilcullen & Rufolo. Here is a bio video on Kenneth Del Vecchio that has it all.
Notwithstanding his great professional successes (or perhaps because of them), adversaries of Kenneth Del Vecchio have called him bombastic, hard, argumentative, overly masculine, and yes – an ego maniac. However, it seems many others have complimentary words for him.
Legendary actor Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas; Nixon) called Del Vecchio “an extraordinary man.” Two-time Academy Award nominee Charles Durning (Tootsie; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) exclaimed that “Kenneth Del Vecchio is an excellent filmmaker and would make a great leader!” Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts (The Expendables; The Pope of Greenwich Village) stated that “Kenneth Del Vecchio is the only judge I ever agreed with in personal conversation. He’s got some great views about freedom and liberty…and he’s a little bit nuts!” TV star Joyce DeWitt (”Three’s Company”) declared that Del Vecchio has “a vision and concept based on excellence and integrity.” Academy Award nominee Robert Loggia (Scarface; Big) said of Del Vecchio: “The man is honest. Hard-working. Talented. And oh so intelligent.”
Whether one likes him or not, Kenneth Del Vecchio has, indeed, delivered an inconceivable list of professional accomplishments that warrant his longstanding title as a “Modern-day Renaissance Man.” But this article is really about the younger Del Vecchio – Mario Del Vecchio – who, too, has already delivered a lengthy list of aberrational accomplishments, which warrant him being headlined as a “Modern-day Renaissance Boy.” And, as his father noted in a social media post, “My son is a far better wrestler than I ever was.” And as ESN is noting here, there isn’t anything not to like about Mario Del Vecchio—love that Jesus Trained shirt and love that he recognizes so publicly that “All Glory to God.”
This article has been updated, with more facts, since its original publication.