Wrestling Season Ends Strong


Boys wrestlers huddle to discuss strategy after doing their pre-match routine at the Hills/Hillsborough match in mid-December. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Malia)

Jaedon Wolfrum and Alan Freeman

The Boys Wrestling team had a successful 20-6 regular season and had their first outright conference title since 1990. The team’s season ended on Feb. 14 when they lost 34-31 against West Essex in the sectional finals.

However, nine wrestlers made it to the Region Consolation Semifinals in West Orange, with sophomores Tyler McCatharn and Stephen Malia prevailing, making it to the State Championships, where McCatharn was wrestle back 3 in his weight class.

Two young wrestlers making it to states is an accomplishment, but the team wanted more.

“I didn’t make it as far as I had hoped,” said McCatharn, “but hopefully, in years to come I can achieve my goals as a state champ.”

For these wrestlers the season never really comes to an end.

“You mostly improve in the offseason,” said Malia. “When the season starts, it just shows how much you’ve improved. Hard work pays off in every sport and in everyday life.”

During preseason Head Coach Dave Sbriscia and Assistant Zach Fisher emphasized getting work done during the offseason.

“It is extremely crucial for this program,” said Fisher.

The team also got help from the leadership of their four returning seniors: Nick Hildebrant, Logan Nauta, Geir Nemeth and Greg Slivka.

“The seniors played an important role in our season,” said junior Reese Manfredi. “They taught me how to enjoy the sport even during the roughest points of the season.”

For the seniors, their wrestling careers at Warren Hills may be over, but they are not looking past this important part of their lives.

“I want to transition the hard work from wrestling into the lacrosse season,” said Nemeth.

“I’ve been wrestling all my life,” said Nauta, “I can use everything it has taught me in the next chapter of my life.”