Zero. That’s how many West Morris Central High School wrestlers reached the 100-win mark in the school’s first half-century.
Zero in the ‘60’s – despite outstanding competitors like Tom Walsh and Bob Lyons. In the 70’s, WMC had State Champion Greg Cholish and Olympic hopeful Tommy Rowlands – but zero 100-win career wrestlers. In the 80’s, the 90’s, and the 2000’s – all the way through 2012 – there were many outstanding wrestlers, but zero with the four-year longevity, consistency, tenacity in the face of 40-match seasons and overall excellence to reach 100 career wins.
That changed three times over as 2013 become a season for the ages.
John Sickles defeated Delbarton’s Austin Gobbo 8-2 last Wednesday night to become the third WMC wrestler entering the school’s most exclusive club, joining co-captains Nick Matthews and Brandon Carcuffe to reach the 100 career win mark in 2013.
“Wrestling has become increasingly competitive with the specialization of athletes, and so many athletes wrestling year round,” explained long-time Long Valley wrestling coach Mike Sickles, who is John’s father. “John's 100 wins shows commitment and consistent dedication through his high school wrestling career and reflects the caliber of coaching he has been exposed to at West Morris Central.”
Ken Rossi has been the head coach throughout the high school careers of Sickles, Matthews and Carcuffe. Jim Balella, Chris Marold, John Barnett and Jeremy Adickes are the WMC Assistant Coaches.
Sickles was 77-32 through his junior year. With a 23-5 record so far this year – including a gold in the prestigious John Goles Tournament – the 160 pound senior is now 100-37 overall.
“As John's parents, we are very proud that he has attained 100 varsity career wins,” added Barbara Sickles, John’s mom. “We are very happy to be able to celebrate this accomplishment with fellow co-captains, Nick Matthews and Brandon Carcuffe, and know Cory Fleming would also be joining this 100 win club if not for an injury his sophomore year.”
Earlier wrestlers had fewer matches per year. But today’s wrestlers face more grueling seasons, with more chance for injury. Fleming is a prime example of how difficult it can be to average four 25-win seasons in a wrestling career. He’s 22-6 this year, and 83-40 overall.
Wolfpack Rises in Rankings Despite Losses
The WMC Wolfpack fell to two NJ Top-20 teams this week. Both matches came down to the final bouts.
Delbarton, ranked #11 in NJ, won half the bouts, but the private school defeated WMC 36-31 on the strength of bonus-points. Scott DeBoey started the match with a 4-0 win. Then the County’s top-ranked Green Wave won four of the next five, with Fleming delivering a rousing pin vs. Valentine Miele (15-7) at 120 for the Wolfpack.
In what promised to be the night’s pivotal match, County Champion Travis Vasquez faced Matthews – whose only loss of the season came at Vasquez’ hands. This time Matthews prevailed, 1-0. With a Carcuffe pin next, the Wolfpack pulled to an 18-18 tie.
But Delbarton scored 18 out of 18 possible points in the next three bouts, forcing the Wolfpack to follow suit if they wanted to win. WMC won those bouts, including an 11-2 major victory by Jesse Windt and Sickles’ historic triumph -- but without enough bonus points to buoy the team.
“Delbarton wins 36-31. Shakeup in the ranking tonight,” tweeted @MorrisCountyHSWrest at the end of the match. True to their word, MorrisCountyWrestling.com lifted WMC from 6th to 4th in the County after the narrow loss to #1 ranked Wave.
WMC lost to NJ #14-ranked High Point 36-24 Saturday, despite some impressive wins, including David Migliaccio over senior Connor McHugh (19-8) by 3-2 and Adam Kratch by 8-4 over Antonio Porraspita (17-7). Aldo Cammalleri delivered a thrilling pin over Brien Alvino to keep WMC in the match as the visiting crowd chanted its appreciation, “Aldo, Aldo, Aldo!”
Dylan Luciano also delivered a critical fall, while Matthews and Sickles won. But High Point’s state-ranked wrestlers proved too much, as Fleming, Carcuffe and Windt lost narrowly to wresters who are a combined 82-6 – highlighted by Carcuffe’s triple-overtime loss to Jason Gaccione.
The Wolfpack hosts Nutley for the NJSIAA playoffs, Monday 2/11/13 at 7 PM.
If WMC wins, they travel to South Plainfield Wednesday night to battle the #1 team in the state.
Visit the Wolfpack on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WMCwrestling.