RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph High School Wrestling team has been dealing with the same Covid-19 challenges and uncertainty that all the other sports have in this strange and unprecedented year. That, combined with a young squad ( Only one senior ) and the adjustment to a familiar but new head coach, has certainly given the team a lesson in resiliency.
“This season has been a challenge unlike any season ever before,” said coach Brian Picillo. “It was a big adjustment for the boys getting used to the new protocols. Wrestling has its own set of challenges before adding in Covid. We put in several wipe down breaks during practice and wearing a mask anytime we are not wrestling. I think those were the two biggest adjustments for the boys.”
Picillo is no stranger to Randolph, having worked in the high school as a Paraprofessional for the last five years, and assisting recently retired coach Mike Suk for the past 8 years.
“Over the last few years, Coach Suk had me be involved in every area of the program from rec to the high school level,” said Picillo. “I had a very good idea of what each of the freshmen brought to the table even before they stepped on the mat at the high school.”
Picillo is now in his 15th season coaching. After being recruited to wrestle at Springfield College in MA, his career was cut short by injury, and he quickly started coaching to stay involved in the sport he loved. In high school, Picillo wrestled at Montclair Kimberley Academy, where he was a two-time Essex County champion, three-time district champion, a Region 4 champion, and three-time state qualifier.
The team endured a shut-down early in the season which presented challenges to building camaraderie while also canceling much needed conditioning and practice sessions. However, while they are a very young team, Picillo stated the boys did a great job tackling each challenge the season has presented.
“Evan Cannon is our lone senior and was a state qualifier last season, so those young guys look to him in tough situations,” said Picillo. “Evan has done a nice job for us this season and is the guy that is most vocal when it comes to pushing his teammates.”
In their most recent match, the Rams took a victory over Morris Knolls by the score of 48-24, at home on Tuesday, April 6.
Tyler Fabin kicked off the match on a high note for the Rams, earning a win by pinning his opponent at the 1:00 minute mark. Connor Wysocki then took a win with a 7-0 decision and the Rams held a 9-0 lead. After a few forfeits and a decision win by Knolls, the Golden Eagles held a 21-15 advantage.
But Jose Vargus and Jesse Wilfgong then collected wins to take the lead back for the Rams, pinning their opponents at 4:57 and 1:05 respectfully. After one more win by the golden Eagles, the final 4 weight categories all resulted in wins by the Rams. Joaquin Yinestroza won by pin at 5:53, while Even Cannon took an 8-4 decision, and the other two came by forfeit.
The win moved the Rams record to 2-5, with seven matches remaining throughout April.
“In our seven matches, five have been close and have come down to a few toss up matches,” said Picillo. “Our record does not reflect the growth of this team, but this season will be a tremendous building block for our foundation moving forward.