Hard work, dedication and teammates

West Milford. The West Milford High School wrestling program looks to get back to its win ways in terms of championships in the toughest of all high school sports.

| 21 Dec 2021 | 02:57

When it comes to the many tough team dual meets, tournaments and individual matches that await them this season, the West Milford High School wrestling program is very clear minded about what it’s going to take to be successful on the mat.

It all comes down to hard work, dedication and the teammates and coaches supporting one another on and off the mat.

The Highlanders posted a strong overall record of 7-6 last season and they are scheduled to host Lakeland on Jan. 5.

“I’d like to see our team get back to its winning ways in terms of championships,’’ West Milford Head Coach Taylor Pevny said. “We haven’t added a championship since 2008, we have seen success and have been close in the last decade. But, it’s time to add more championships to this already storied program.’’

‘The toughest sport in high school sports’

Among the key returning varsity level wrestlers for the Highlanders this winter are:

Benjamin Marchetto (106 pounds, sophomore, 14-2 last season, fifth in the North Super Region);

Colin Menier (126 pounds, sophomore, 10-2 last season);

Tyler Schaffer (132 pounds, junior);

Ryan Eckhart (138 pounds, junior);

Francesco Petrosillo (157 pounds, senior);

Aidan McGuire (165 pounds, senior, 7-5 last season); and

Tyler Wisnewski (175 pounds, junior).

“Francesco Petrosillo and Aidan McGuire should by my leaders this year followed by some experienced juniors in Ryan Eckhart, Tyler Schaffer and Tyler Wisnewski,’’ Pevny said. We have a very big freshman class this year. All of the freshmen have done a great job in practice so far. They include Matt McConnell, AJ DeFede, Daxton Keller, Massimo Balestrieri, Lorenzo Andrade, Jesse Araujo, Nick Carbone, Nick Brandao, Edip Oruli and Spencer Brownlee.

“They have entered high school and have taken on the challenge of high school wrestling,” the coach added. “We say all the time this is the toughest sport in high school sports. It is not easy having to put in all of the time and effort every day but these young kids have embraced the challenge and have impressed our staff up to this point.’’

Young, but experienced

West Milford competes in the Big North Conference Independence Division along with Passaic Valley, Fair Lawn, Lakeland, Wayne Valley and Wayne Hills. Coach Pevny ranks Lakeland as being a top team to beat in the Independence Division this season.

“We should be a contender,’’ Pevny said. “We are actually a young team but we do have a lot of experience. We lost 12 seniors last year but a lot of these guys that are stepping into the lineup have some varsity experience.

Gregg Kochakji ALS Holiday Duals

“(We are) hosting a charity event on December 23 called the Gregg Kochakji ALS Holiday Duals. Gregg was a former Highlander wrestler who passed away this last summer. All proceeds will be benefiting his cause.’’

Notes: Ben Marchetto placed first at the season opening Dover Holiday Tournament on December 18.