By Amanda Dronzek
This past week, I had the pleasure of speaking with the EGHS Wrestling Coach of 2020, John Altieri via email. I had previously attended one of their home matches against Tolman High School. The young team battled hard but fell short of a win for the night. With just 11 kids participating, the wrestling team has improved a great deal over the past few months. Although their season is coming to a close, I spoke with Altieri and learned a lot about the program he was building. As an avid wrestler himself, Altieri attended Warwick Vets High School and won four consecutive state championships for wrestling. John was the fourth person to win four straight state championships in all of Rhode Island and placed at the New England’s from freshman to senior year. After his increible run in high school wrestling, Altieri attended William Penn University in Iowa. Unfortunately, John suffered from injuries, but he was still able to qualify for nationals twice and place in the regionals three times, winning one of them. John didn’t compete in his senior year, but after college, he dove right into coaching for EG.
He told me that the opportunity “fell into his lap one day.” John was asked if he wanted to coach. Hesitant at first, Altieri decided it was worth taking the job for he could change the lives of the kids he would train and coach. This year, the team was made up of 11 kids as follows: Trenton Baccari, Ryan Harrington, Julian Prosseda, Charles Thomas, Elijah Bautista, Alex Sack, Kian Bijari, William Kirinsky, Michael Balsamo, and Michael Jarrell. Many of the wrestlers on the team this year have had little to no experience in the world of wrestling, but John has worked extremely hard to build up their skills. He aspires to build the foundation for this young team for the future as he strives to create a family-like environment for the kids he coaches. By getting more and more people to come to matches and support the team, each and every kid has gotten an opportunity to be recognized and appreciated for the hard work they put in during every practice and match. As Altieri put it, “Working hard and giving 100% of your best each day will create champions on and off the mat.” With that, the team hopes for a strong end to the season and an even better start to the next one.