Monticello native Anthony Ng knew when he accepted the position of head wrestling coach at SUNY Sullivan last August that there would be challenges. The program, in just its fourth year, had lost its previous head coach earlier in the year, which meant a summer without workouts or recruiting, but Ng was undaunted.
“Not one of the kids who wrestled on the team last year had returned,” he said recently. “And the ones that were there when I arrived were aware that there had been no coach all summer.”
In fact, there was a concern among them that there might not be a wrestling season at all this year if a coach wasn’t found quickly. Ng started just in time to salvage the season, but too late to put his personal stamp on this year’s program. Still, the former Monti High standout, who wrestled collegiately at both Buffalo and Boston University, has a long range plan he has already begun to put in motion.
“We started the season with eight wrestlers, Sirgorio Thomas Ray of Baltimore, Maryland, Brian Vaughn from Montgomery, New York, Luis Sibilly and Allan Reyes from the Bronx, Kahhar Roufai from Brooklyn, Travis Kelly from Monticello, Deonte Moore, a transfer from Utica College from Otisville, and Owen Pacifico from Bayshore, New York.
“I believe the program can grow to become a very reputable Junior College Program, provided the local talent from Section IX and inner city schools know that it is an affordable and promising opportunity for kids looking to obtain their Associates Degree, and for those planning on matriculating on to 4-year accredited institutions, and possibly continuing their athletic career.”
Just as he did when he was wrestling himself, Ng has set some very ambitious goals for the program, and has laid out a detailed plan for achieving those goals.
“Some goals I have for next year are to have at least one wrestler qualify for NJCAA Nationals,” he says. “I would like to ultimately have multiple JUCO All-Americans and a JUCO National Champion. In order to do this, there will have to be hundreds of hours dedicated to building this program from the ground-up. To have a successful program anywhere, you have to have a solid group of wrestlers in the room who are willing to work year around.
“We have never hosted a home dual match at the Fieldhouse and I would like to change that. We will be hosting a 32-38 team national youth dual tournament April 1 and April 2 as a fundraiser through USA Wrestling and New York Wrestling News to purchase new mats for next season. This will be conducive to the possibility of the first home dual meet ever in the Fieldhouse next season, possibly against Ulster CCC which just started a program this year.
“I want to recruit serious wrestlers that are dedicated to improving every season, including a summer program that exposes the guys to different styles of wrestling (freestyle and Greco-Roman) and obviously a strength and conditioning program, which is imperative.”
Ng realizes that much of his work will take place outside the wrestling room, as he attempts to convince graduating high school wrestlers to take a chance on a fledgling program at a school that has no reputation as a wrestling powerhouse.
“I hope to recruit heavily through Section IX high school wrestling programs and to utilize the upcoming Eastern State Classic tournament held at Sullivan to spread the word on a broad scale to over 160 high school teams attending from 8 different states.
“I am optimistic about the future of the program, and I truly believe it will become a reputable JUCO wrestling program. I have already gotten two kids from Section IX to commit to wrestle for us next year and I anticipate many more to come.”