By Jeff Appelblatt
Woodbridge High School wrestling coach Michael Carbone worked hard in the winter to lead his squad to its most successful season in school history, earning him division, county, district and region coach of the year honors. But there was and will be no time for the health and physical education teacher to take too much time to reminisce.
Aside from teaching at the high school, Carbone immediately went from coaching wrestling to coaching junior varsity baseball.
“It’s not easy,” the multi-sport coach said. “When wrestling ended [March 6], at night, [I] got home late and had baseball the next day.”
Not that switching from sport to sport is anything new for Carbone. In addition to six years leading the wrestlers in the winter and now in his third spring running the JV baseball team, Carbone also spent five autumns as part of the football team’s coaching staff.
“It’s definitely my passion,” Carbone said about coaching.
However, as worn out as he feels at times, he knows the student-athletes participating in multiple sports may be a little more drained. Carbone understands, as he partook in three sports while he attended Cranford High School (baseball, football and wrestling) and two more while he went to West Chester University (football and rugby), where he graduated in 2005.
Playing multiple sports throughout the school year may not be for everyone, but some athletes hope to get a run with as many teams as possible before they leave high school.
“I had a few seniors that never played volleyball try out for the team,” first-year boys volleyball coach Jayson Calhoun said.
One of the seniors who tried out and made the roster was Sidney Pierre — someone Carbone is very familiar with.
“Sidney [Pierre] worked hard for football [and] worked hard for wrestling,” Carbone said. “He’s pretty athletic, but [I] don’t know how it will transfer over [to volleyball].”
No matter how it pans out for the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder, the school’s wrestling coach will have fond memories of Pierre’s time at Woodbridge.
“He had a long football season, had some bad ribs, bad shoulders, but had 17 wins [on the mats],” Carbone said. “He lost in the first round of the districts, but that kid he lost to had a few big wins.”
Keeping track of big wins was another task Carbone had on his agenda up until recently. In addition to watching Woodbridge wrestler Bryan McLaughlin place fourth at the state wrestling competition in Atlantic City, former Barrons’ standout Bobby Jordan was making noise at the college level.
“He was my first 100-win wrestler,” Woodbridge’s coach said. “He was the first state-placer that I’ve coached.”
A 113-pound wrestler throughout his time at Woodbridge, Jordan quickly got used to wrestling at 125 pounds at Johnson and Wales University.
“Bobby Jordan lost in the quarterfinals. He made it to the round of 12,” Carbone said. “He was disappointed he didn’t make it past the ‘Blood Round,’ but he was just short of placing in the nation. He’s still got two more years to get himself into the finals, though.”
For now, Carbone is set to focus on the baseball teams at Woodbridge. Nothing would be sweeter than seeing some of his JV players prepared for varsity next year.