Hillsborough’s two best wrestlers face different, equally bright futures


Hillsborough High School senior Ray O’Callaghan may not wrestle at the collegiate level.

O’Callaghan plans on attending the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken to major in quantitative finance. If that sounds complicated, it’s because it is. O’Callaghan may not have time for wrestling, too.

Hillsborough sophomore Cole Psemeneki, on the other hand, is far from the end of his wrestling career. Psemeneki is 37-13 in two seasons at Hillsborough. His coach, Roy Dragon, thinks Psemeneki can eventually place at the state tournament in Atlantic City, perhaps even this year.

“He has a shot,” Dragon said.

O’Callaghan also has a chance to make noise at Atlantic City’s  Boardwalk Hall from Feb. 28 through March 2. The senior 152-pounder is 18-4 this year, while he qualified for the state tournament last winter.

Dragon thinks O’Callaghan can end his high school career with a flourish.

“He’s a really tough kid, mentally tough,” Dragon said. “Once he gets rolling, he can do damage and win matches.”

These are Hillsborough’s two best wrestlers this winter, a senior near the end of a strong career, a sophomore near the beginning of one.

Both are capable of postseason success. And both are working toward bright futures.

O’Callaghan is an A student at Hillsborough. You probably have to be an A student to know the word “quantitative,” let alone to choose “quantitative finance” as your major.

Corporatefinanceinstitute.com defines the field as “the use of mathematical models and extremely large datasets to analyze financial markets.” O’Callaghan may just help shape the future of capitalism.

But he will start by doing well at Stevens.

“He’s a very smart kid and hard worker,” Dragon said. “He will be successful in whatever he does after high school.”

And if O’Callaghan chooses to wrestle at Stevens, he will make an impact on the school’s Division 3 program, just like he did at Hillsborough.

“He can do great there,” Dragon said.

When O’Callaghan graduates in June, Psemeneki will replace him as Hillsborough’s top wrestler and upperclassman leader. The sophomore is ready for the challenge.

He already conquered a big challenge this winter, moving up from the 106-pound weight class to the 113-pound division.

The 106-pound division is filled with small, raw freshmen, like Psemeneki last year. The 113-pound group is bigger, stronger and more developed. Psemeneki has thrived in it anyway.

“He has learned what it takes to succeed on that higher level,” Dragon said. “Cole is really good on top. He has also been doing a good job of getting out from the bottom and getting turns on top.”

Since Psemeneki is only a sophomore, Dragon thinks he can still rise to another level.

“He needs to work on offense on his feet,” Dragon said. “When matches are close and it’s hard to score, the thing that separates great wrestlers from good ones is being able to get the takedown when you really need it. If he develops that, he’ll be hard to beat.”

Psemeneki is a year-round wrestler, so he will have nine offseason months to reach that level before his junior year.

“He has a lot of natural ability,” Dragon said. “He’ll go as far in his career as he chooses.”