Anton Atterbury ’99, a former national finalist and two-time All American who now coaches at Sayreville High, said he and the other alumni involved conceived the idea last summer at the Lions Wrestling Camp, which is run by TCNJ Head Coach Dave Icenhower MA ’78. “It’s almost a mini-reunion every summer,” Atterbury said about the number of alumni wrestlers-turned-coaches who bring their high school squads to the camp.
While there, the alumni decided that creating a tournament open only to teams coached by former TSC/TCNJ wrestlers would be a great way to both show their pride in their alma mater, and to honor their former college coach’s impact on the sport at the high school level.
“Every place I’ve ever coached, I’ve coached with a former TCNJ wrestler,” said Atterbury. “At Hackensack I was coaching with Mike Walker ’98, at Brick Memorial I was coaching with Dean Albanese ’92 and Dan Ocone ’98. In wrestling circles throughout the state, you can’t go very far without running into someone who’s wrestled for, or has ties to, Ice. He’s an unbelievable coach.”
Taking part in the tournament, in addition to Atterbury and his Sayreville squad, were Dechlin Moody ’01, Collingswood; Jack Withstandley ’97, Freehold Township; John Kumfert ’01, Middletown South; Matt Moscotello ’00, Jefferson; Rich Gildner ’04, Robbinsville; Rich Venuto ’92, Paul VI; Ron Laycock ’91, Toms River South; and Tom Pfister ’03, Lacey Township.
Atterbury said additional TCNJ alumni coaches have expressed interest in taking part in next year’s tournament, but couldn’t attend this year’s because their teams had prior commitments.
“We called this event our ‘first annual,’ because we’re planning on this thing growing and growing and growing,” he said.