The typical yeshiva high school wrestling program is full of holes. After all, there are 14 competitive weight classes, but yeshivas generally don’t have enough team members to compete in all of them all. To make matters worse, their schedules are usually fraught with black holes — un-win-able matches against unbeatable public and private schools. But thanks to an unusually talented team, the Frisch School in Paramus is quickly patching its missing parts.
"Unlike any other yeshiva team, we’re competing and winning against public schools and private schools, against guys who are going to get college scholarships," said Frisch co-head coach Eric Samson. "We’ve always competed against public schools, but this is the first year we can beat them."
Samson said that Frisch, limited to two practices a week because of school rules, has quality wrestlers in all 14 weight classes. And the best of them, such as junior Ron Simchi, are helping to turn the tide against the better teams in Bergen County and New Jersey.
"Ron wrestled Dave Greenwald from St. Mary’s (Rutherford), who’s ranked number 1 in the state and in the top 10 in the country," said Samson. "Ron didn’t win, but he lasted into the third period with him.""Unlike any other yeshiva team, we’re competing and winning against public schools and private schools, against guys who are going to get college scholarships."
Samson said that most public and non-yeshiva private schools hold practices five or six times a week, so it’s usually very difficult to field a competitive yeshiva team. Plus, Samson added, "In yeshivas, no one has ever wrestled before high school. So someone could be terrible their first year and end up being a champion by junior or senior year."
Frisch’s first match this year was a ‘7-3 trouncing of the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns Rockaway (HAFTR). They followed that with a victory over Yeshiva University’s MTA High School, a loss to St. Mary’s, and an agonizing one-match loss to Leonia High School. Their 1′ remaining matches include a meeting with Paramus’ Bergen Catholic High School, the top-ranked team in the county. Frisch will also compete in the Henry Wittenberg Yeshiva High School Wrestling Tournament for yeshiva high schools, which Frisch has won the past three years.
"These matches are a way of testing the guys and seeing how hard they’re willing to work and how good they can be," said Samson. "It’s about going out there and showing that you can make a move or figure something out on the fly. It’s continual progress."