The wrestling season started off a little rough between COVID and the many injuries that caused the players to drop like flies at one point. However, that didn’t stop the team from pushing forward, and they have stepped up in many aspects since then. Two key players who were hurt in January were Tyler Wisnewski with his ankle badly sprained, and captain Francesco Petrosillo who hurt his shoulder, called a 2nd level separation of the AC joint, that didn’t stop him from continuing to wrestle (talk about a dedicated team member). Other team injuries included a dislocated knee and dislocated elbow, and at one point, things looked a little shaky. However, the team as a whole showed much potential at the outset of the year.
As the season continued, people got their heads in the game and started to make real progress. The amount of dedication the team has for the sport is impressive. They practice intensely for several hours a day and are always making sure they are on weight to wrestle at the next meet. Their camaraderie is also impressive; they are a real family. They cheer each other on and feel angry with another’s loss. They help each other and they goof around, but all in all, while they work individually, they also work together to win. Having coaches dedicated to the sport is also a huge deal. For example, Pev is always right on top of everyone to high-five them and tell them good job, win or loss. Rounding out the coaching staff are Stoll, Blakely, and Martin, who all have many years of experience behind them.
Many teammates are happy with their improvements since previous years and liked to see how they have grown and bettered themselves. As a whole, the team members are now more confident in their skills to win. They are dedicated and they show that by showing up every day and putting in the hard work to improve on the mat.
The team has been giving it their all and it shows from their exciting team victories over New Milford, Fair Lawn, DePaul, and Ramapo. At the Sam Cali Tournament at FDU, Ben Marchetto and Colin Menier both placed in the top 4. Then they went to the Dover Holiday Tournament and the team placed third overall. Ben Marchetto took first; Colin Menier, Erik Reilly, and Spencer Ribitzki all took second, and Francesco Petrosillo and Seamus McGuinness took third. The team’s next challenge was a quad against Ramapo, Kinnelon, and Kittany where they ended up going 2-1. They ended up losing against Kittany, but they will get them next year. Francesco Petrosillo came up big for the team in the match against New Milford and Declan Wallace had a big win for the team against DePaul.
The Passaic County Tournament was a big one for the Highlanders. A lot of people came to support the boys and they all did amazing. Ben Marchetto, sophomore, took first for the 106 lbs weight class, Colin Menier, a sophomore, placed second for the 126lbs weight class, and Nicholas Carbone, a freshman, placed third for the 144 lbs weight class. These wrestlers will be exciting to watch in the future considering they are only at the beginning of their careers as Highlanders.
Many wrestlers have goals and achievements they want to meet. Some already have achieved these goals, and some are still working on them. Nicholas Carbone, for example, is dead set on getting 100 wins before his high school career comes to an end. He is well on his way with 19 wins as a freshman, 16 of those wins being by pin. Just this season alone, Ben Marchetto has been having great success with a record of 40-6, and Colin Menier is 33-11.
When it came down to Regions the only ones to make it through were Colin in 4th place at 126 lbs, and Ben in 2nd at 106 lbs and they both went to States in Atlantic City. West Milford has not had two wrestlers go to states since 2003. This is a huge achievement for our town and our reputation for the wrestling team. Ben says, “I think the season for everyone went very well” but let’s not forget Ben has 37 wins as a sophomore. He will definitely make 100 wins before his high school career is over.
Overall, some teammates had some opinions to say Francesco Petrosillo said “it was a good season. We fought through a lot of hardship; this season shows our strength, it also shows what great things are yet to come for us in the future.” Francesco is graduating this year and we hope that next season he will stop by to cheer on his team and see how far they have come. Pev said, “I am very proud of our team’s work ethic and dedication towards bettering themselves as wrestlers every single day.” It’s not all them, Pev, it takes a good coach with discipline to help motivate these individuals. Lastly, we had two wrestlers who qualified for states. We haven’t had a wrestler go to states since 2003 so this was a huge accomplishment for our school as a whole. Colin Meiner and Ben Marchetto both gave it their all and Ben ended up coming in 7th place. And that is a wrap on this yeast wrestling season! Until next year!
Overall accomplishments for players:
Scholarship winner: Francesco Petrosillo
Most dedicated: Colin Menier and Ben Marchetto
Most Improved: Erik Reilly
All Big North-Independence Conference Team
1st Ben Marchetto, Colin Meiner, Tyler Wisnewski
2nd Ryan Eckart
Honorable Mention Nick Carbone, Erik Reilly
All Passaic County Team
1st: Ben Marchetto
2nd Colin Menier, Nick Carbone
Honorable Mention: Francesco Petrosillo & Ryan Eckhart