Hall of Fame – 2000
Attending Omaha Central High School from 1942-1945, Mr. Vacanti was a 3x State Champ in 1943 at 105 lbs., 1944 at 118 lbs., and 1945 at 118 lbs. During his high school wrestling career he lost a total of 3 matches, very impressive. Allie Morrison (Charter Hall Member – ‘82) “grabbed” Joseph while he was in junior high to wrestle in a tournament that he had organized. Winning that match, Allie talked Joseph into attending Omaha Central. During his ninth grade year, Coach Morrison put him in a tournament because the Varsity team member was unable to suit up, with the advice, “just don’t get pinned”. He didn’t and he earned his first high school letter, picking up 3 more before he graduated. He remembers Vern Ekfelt (Charter Hall Member – 82) suggesting wrestlers weigh-in at the beginning of the season only in those days. Joseph thought that was a good idea. Coach Morrison also worked to get a Omaha University team going and Mr . Vacanti was a member of that team in 1946. He was also Missouri Valley, IA champ 3x. and Midwest AAU Champ 3x. Going to the National AAU Meet with Louis Rotella ( Hall – 99) he “got killed”. In actuality he picked up fourth and Louis took 3rd. Recalling his w inning 45 consecutive matches and his wrestling in the national finals in Stillwater, OK in 1945 as his biggest thrills Mr. Vacanti is introduced by his brother, John J. Vacanti.