RANDOLPH, NJ- As far back as the 2nd grade, RHS Senior A.J. Vindici has been exceptional at wrestling. On Thursday, Nov. 12, A.J. committed to bring his talent to the University of Pennsylvania to continue his remarkable career.
“This will be my 10th year wrestling. I started in 2nd grade and have been wrestling ever since.” Vindici said.
“His coaches noticed immediately he had a natural ability for the sport.” Al Vindici, A.J.’s father, said.
Come High School, A.J. was on the mat, ready to continue his career right where he left off after suffering an injury at the end of 7th grade.
His accomplishments carried with him throughout the years, placing 7th in the state as a Freshman, 3rd as a Sophomore, and as a Junior, he reached his 100th win, an incredible achievement for a young high school student.
“In all the years I have been wrestling, the highlight of my career was placing 3rd in the state tournament sophomore year.” Vindici said.
“The states, being held in Atlantic City, created an environment that every athlete loves.” He said. “Having thousands of fans in the stands watching my match is one of the most incredible and exciting experiences anyone can ask for.”
Vindici continued, “I went 7-1 in the state tournament, which is the record for the most wins in one state tournament.”
On Thursday in the RHS Library, A.J.’s family gathered, decked out in UPenn gear, along with coaches Michael Suk, Andrew Finland, and Keith Byard.
Coach Michael Suk, who has been guiding A.J. since his Freshman year, describes him as “The man.”
“A.J. has been the one of the most dedicated wrestlers I have had the opportunity to coach in my 30 years as Head Coach.” Coach Suk said. “His dedication to the sport is second to none. His career has been awesome because of his passion and work ethic.”
A.J. himself seemed ecstatic after signing to UPenn.
“Signing so early in the year makes me even more excited for the upcoming season.” A.J. said. “It allows me to focus less on filling out applications and contacting numerous coaches, and more on my performance in the wrestling room and in the classroom.”
A big part of A.J.’s success came from his amazing support system. The coaching staff, and his family, have both been incredible throughout his outstanding wrestling career.
“The most influential people in my wrestling career are my family.” A.J. said. “They have helped me and supported me throughout my career, and pushed me to do better in every aspect of the sport.”
“My first coach, Scott Puzzia, motivated me to come back year after year, and is one of the main reasons I still wrestle today,” said A.J.
A.J. plans to continue his success this upcoming season, he stated, “My goal is to become a state champion, and along the way, break Randolph’s school win record which stands at 127.”
“Currently, A.J. has 117 wins,” Al Vindici said, “He is only 10 wins away from the all-time Randolph Wrestling record.”
Not only is A.J. committing to UPenn for wrestling, but is enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, one of the best business schools in America.
“We are very proud of all that he has done both on and off the mat and are excited for the next chapter in his life,” said Al Vindici.
The entire Randolph community is proud and extremely excited to continue witnessing A.J.’s unbelievable success in wrestling.
“He will end up his career with more wins than any wrestler in our school’s history,” Coach Suk said. “He has been a great leader both on and off the mat and we are extremely proud of him and his accomplishments.”