With booming numbers and a heap of returning talent, the 2018-19 season promises to be a good one for the Harrison wrestling team. After losing just two starters from last year’s squad, head coach Vin Nicita is optimistic that his squad can make waves within Section I—and possibly beyond.
With 33 wrestlers currently on the roster, Nicita believes that season-long competition in the practice room will pay dividends in competition.
“This is more than we’ve had, numbers-wise, in a long time, so it’s a great situation,” Nicita told the Review. “It’s huge because it increases the intensity at practice, because your spot isn’t guaranteed.”
Of course, it also helps that the Huskies return a slew of talented wrestlers who will not only have success on the mat this year, but also help elevate the games of their teammates. Chief among the returners are senior Zach Finn and sophomore Tyler Joseph, who both earned bids to states last year and will be competing at the prestigious Eastern States Classic in January.
“With two guys who made it to the state tournament, the other kids see that and they want that success,” Nicita said. “And that helps if kids are slacking off in practice, there is someone there who can help raise that intensity.”
Finn wrestled at 185 pounds last year but may move up to the 192-pound weight class, while Joseph, who wrestled at 113 pounds last year, will likely be moving up a few divisions to compete as a 132-pounder this winter. That sort of move, Nicita said, is routine, especially for younger competitors whose bodies are still filling out.
“He’s more mature, both emotionally and physically,” the coach said. “There’s a question about how he will handle the jump, but he’s worked very hard to prepare himself in the offseason.”
Other returners, like Dennis Brecani—who just missed an All-Section spot at 145 pounds last year—Lighting Roggero, Val McCoy and Vito DeFonce are expected to make big strides as well.
The Huskies will officially kick off their 2018-19 schedule on Dec. 1, when they take part in the Bernie Miller Invitational at Rye High School. On Dec. 5, they will compete in the opening round of the Section I Dual Meet Tournament, where they have drawn a powerful John Jay-Cross River team as their first opponent.
“Between the Rye tournament and John Jay, it’s a tough start to the season,” Nicita said. “But it’s going to be a really good test for them early on.”