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Big Blue Beat: Varsity Wrestling Team
adawson

By Zach Trichas '19


Head Coach: George Sullivan

Last season's highlights:
Led last year by captains Frankie Dillon '17, Ryan Boylan '17, and Thomas Tarantino '17, the team ended the season with a record of 9-11. Thomas and Frankie, along with teammates Brandon Spellman '19 and Aidan Dillon '18, advanced to the regional tournament last February. Frankie, who took second in his weight class at the Somerset County Tournament, second at the Rutgers Prep Tournament, and third at the District 19 Tournament last winter, closed out his senior season by also becoming Pingry's first wrestling state qualifier since 2005.


What to watch for this season:

•  This year, with a competitive roster of 28 wrestlers, including 11 new freshmen, and a promising junior class, Coach George Sullivan—who takes over this season from 13-year Head Coach Mark Facciani—expects the team to have a strong year.

•  The team's upperclassman leadership is also strong, with captain Aidan Dillon '18 following in the footsteps of his brother Frankie '17, who advanced to the state tournament last season. Fellow seniors Bao Pham, Matthew Rockoff, and AJ Weaver look to provide additional leadership and contribute to the team on and off the mat. 

•  The team also welcomes Kaley Taylor '21, the first female wrestler to compete on the varsity squad in quite a while. As a former Middle School team captain, she and her fellow freshmen have impressed through the opening practices and seem primed to contribute to an already strong lineup.

•  While returning veteran Jack Lyons '19 had the misfortune of tearing his ACL at a wrestling camp over the summer, he has been working hard to return for the 2018-19 season. Look for him in the practice room coaching the freshmen and continuing to contribute positively to the team's attitude.

•  Early-season tournaments at Delaware Valley and Hunterdon Central project intense competition and will be early bellwethers for the team's competitiveness at the District and Regional Tournaments at the end of the season. Moreover, with four county finalists last season, this year's team plans to break through with their first county champion in over a decade.

• This season, the team hopes to win at least 15 matches, an ambitious mark. With a full lineup and many quality starters returning, not to mention the team's first full season practicing and competing in the Bugliari Athletics Center, they aim to make waves and continue to honor the legacy of the program's marked improvement in recent years.

•  In terms of individual performance, senior captain Aidan Dillon and juniors Brandon Spellman, Kamal Brown, and Zach Dobson all look to make deep runs in the District and Regional Tournaments, hoping for a bid for the state tournament in Atlantic City. 
 

Full-court Press:
"With 11 new freshmen joining the team and a strong junior class, the future is bright."—Head Coach George Sullivan

Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, adawson@pingry.org