Coach: Highlanders well-prepared for harsh wrestling season


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  • PHOTO PROVIDED The Highlanders wrestling team is ready to take on this season's challenges, says their coach, Taylor Pevny.



By Josh Lashley

The first full month of the dual meet portion of the regular season is here and that seems to suit the West Milford High School wrestling program just fine.

The Highlanders already earned victories in December over Kinnelon (51-22 on Dec. 21) and Ramapo (51-24 on Dec. 21). They recently performed well at the Roselle Park Tournament as Trevor Fleet placed third at 113 pounds and Anthony Cecere finished in fourth place at 145 pounds.

Cecere (senior, 145, captain), Bailey Justin (senior, 106, captain) and Fleet (junior, 126, captain) are among the key returning student-athletes for West Milford.

“These three (Cecere, Justin and Trevor Fleet) should have good seasons and are leaders of our team,’’ West Milford head coach Taylor Pevny said. “They have spent a ton of time working hard in the off season.

“Some experienced incoming freshman include Reilly Fleet (113), Kyle Fernley(113), Rocco Mussina(106) and Norman Rubinsky(160). I also had a bunch of upperclassmen come out for the team this year who are showing promising signs-they include Joey Desanno (220), Ray Gorny (170), Mike Podmokly (285) and Ricky Rivera (285).’’

The Highlanders finished last year with 10 dual meet wins and would like to improve upon that total this winter.

“Leadership is most important when it comes to practice,’’ Pevney said. “Our three captains this year are hard workers and motivators in the room. I have many other kids on the team who also display great leadership. These wrestlers include Brandon Sanchez (junior, 138) and Craig Blumeling (junior, 145).’’

West Milford competes in the Big North Conference Independence Division along with Fair Lawn, Wayne Hills, Wayne Valley, Lakeland and Passaic Valley. They are scheduled to host Fair Lawn on Sunday, Jan. 24.

“We will be right in the middle of our division,’’ Pevny said. “Passaic valley, Wayne Valley and Fair Lawn will be tough opponents. Lakeland is always a must beat in our division. We want to beat everyone and work hard to try to do so. We always wrestle in a tough division so it's going to take a lot of hard work and commitment to getting better.

“We are hosting the 2018 (NJSIAA) Region 1 Wrestling Tournament (Feb. 21, 23 and 24). Youth Night this year is our recreation wrestling program and high school program wrestling back to back on Jan. 10 (versus Paterson Kennedy) -‑ it starts at 5 p.m.’’

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