Wrestling secures NYSAIS Championship

Andrew Cassino, Staff Writer

At 15-0, the Varsity Wrestling Team won every meet, dethroned Poly Prep, and won the Ivy League Championship.

“It was pretty much a perfect season, as indicated by our record,” Varsity Wrestling Head Coach Gregg Quilty said.

After the Ivy League championship, the team won the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) tournament. “It was unexpected,” Quilty said. “Usually it’s a battle for second place. Poly does a lot of heavy recruiting and they win every year.”

“We won NYSAIS as a team with four individual champions,” co-Captain Jamie Berg (12) said. “That kind of result is always awesome, but it’s just an exclamation point on a season of a huge amount of hard work and camaraderie.”

Berg has come to expect great results from the team and is always happy when they push themselves and “leave it all on the mat,” he said.

The team featured a wide range of experience levels this year. “We had wrestlers that just started and wrestlers that have been doing this for six to seven years,” James Thomas (9) said. Overcoming this relative inexperience required a lot of hard work from the younger wrestlers and commitment from the more older wrestlers to coach and help the younger players, Berg said.

The team didn’t lose any key competitors to graduation last year and gained eight new freshmen. One freshman, Elias Romero (9) believes the new members learn a lot from the experienced wrestlers, he said.

“At the beginning, there was an obvious difference [in skill], but towards the end we were all in the same category,” Romero said.

“Coach Quilty does an incredible job of making sure everybody develops a style of wrestling that works for them,” Berg said.

The team had to overcome adversity with injuries to key starters throughout the season. co-Captain Georgi Verdelis (12) was out for the entire season due to a concussion, while Davis     Parzick (12) and Jack Harris (11) also dealt with injuries throughout the season, Quilty said. Quilty was impressed by how much the underclassmen were able to pick up the slack and step up when the injuries began to pile up, he said.

“Jamie Berg was the star of the team all year,” Quilty said. Berg pinned his way through the NYSAIS tournament, taking home a title., and during the season, he picked up his 100th career victory.

Berg, Michael Ortiz (12), Nick Moreira (10), and Parzick, who all won matches during NYSAIS, are traveling to the public school state championship in Albany, with Vikram Ostrander (10) attending as an alternate.

“If we weren’t as close, we probably wouldn’t have done so well,” Romero said. “For the most part, our team’s encouragement of each other was really important.”