When Alex Strum stepped down as head wrestling coach at Catholic Memorial in 2018 after 5 profitable seasons, he wasn’t positive what the longer term held.
Given the chance to return to the mat as head coach at his alma mater Holliston, Strum didn’t bat an eye fixed.
“It was tough leaving CM,” stated Strum, who served as a volunteer assistant final yr. “I actually missed that final group of youngsters as I had grown an attachment to them. What made me really feel good was the truth that I felt I left this system in good condition.
“Being a head coach again has been great, I do like having that responsibility of being a head coach on my shoulders. This has been a great group to work with.”
Strum wrestled at Holliston earlier than graduating in 2012, although the mat wasn’t the place he initially envisioned to be throughout the winter athletic season.
“I was a poor basketball player and one day a random kid told me that I was going to be a two-time state wrestling champion,” Strum stated. “The two-time part didn’t happen, but I gave wrestling a shot and I bought into it.”
It was throughout his crew wrestling beneath Jim Carboneau and Paul Capobianco that Strum first acquired the teaching bug.
“I had a good memory for wrestling history and the coaches liked that,” Strum stated. “My senior yr, I truly went to the seeding assembly with coach Carboneau. I believe he introduced me there as a result of he wanted somebody to do the paperwork.
“Wrestling is a unique sport in that there are limited opportunities when you get out of school. In sports like basketball and hockey, you can join pickup league and there isn’t any of that in wrestling. Coaching is as close as you can get to staying in the sport.”
Strum stated there isn’t a lot change within the sport within the 4 years he was away from teaching. One noticeable distinction is the depth of gifted groups in a number of the league, the Tri-Valley League being one among them.
“The TVL has really gotten consistently stronger,” stated Strum, whose crew is 3-3. “Norton has always been tough, Ashland has gotten better the last few years and the others teams in the league are improving. The league is definitely deeper from when I was coaching at Catholic Memorial.”
Milford desires extra
Milford ended the 2022 calendar yr with a bang, which was exactly what head coach PJ Boccia needed.
The defending Div. 2 state champions swept a New Years Eve quad meet, defeating Div. 1 contender Shawsheen (40-37), Springfield Central (64-18) and Coventry (39-30) to enhance to 7-0 on the season on the time.
“I knew we had a lot of guys coming back off a state title team,” Boccia stated. “We were not going to shy away from anyone, we were looking to put together as tough a schedule as we could. We were supposed to wrestle St. John’s Prep but the meet got snowed out and we were not able to make it up. Even without that, we have a tough schedule and those good tests will let us know what we need to do in order to become better.”
The genesis of the New Years Eve quad meet began some 40 miles away on the Doughboy Wrestling Club in Lowell. Boccia was bringing his son Brayden there for coaching and he ran into Shawsheen assistant coach Brian Tildsley, whose kids (Sidney, James and Tayla) are state champion wrestlers. One factor led to a different and the seeds have been sown.
“We were talking about it could be a great event,” Boccia stated. “Shawsheen was a very good team and they were coming into our meet after winning the Lowell Holidays. It was a great match and it’s something we want to continue.”
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