PARSIPPANY — PJ, Michael and Justin have been wrestling together since they were six years old. As the three prepare for the State Tournament, they pose for one last time wearing Parsippany uniforms.
Out of 425 High Schools that participate in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJISAA) which make up the New Jersey State Wrestling Championship, Parsippany was well represented in this years 2017 tournament.
PJ Gohn placed sixth in the State of New Jersey. His teammate, Michael Ilic placed within the top 12 of the state. Both Gohn and Ilic wrestled for Parsippany High School Red hawks. Throughout their four-year career with the Red hawks, Gohn had a total of 85 wins while Michael Ilic had 107 wins.
Justin Carifi was the sole wrestler from Parsippany Hills High School who represented the Vikings at the state tournament. Carifi also placed within the top 12 of the state. Carifi had 39 wins this season and also finished his career with the Vikings with a total of 118 wins. Both of these accomplishments are now school records at Parsippany Hills High School according to Head Wrestling Coach Chris Wells.
Coach Dasti who is the Red hawks head wrestling coach, had this to say about Gohn and Ilic. “They’ll both be missed.” “Obviously with P.J., you’ll miss someone that talented. Now, it’s just a matter of replacing him and I hope we have guys who can do that. Hopefully, the younger guys see the success he had and I hope they understand it came from all of the offseason work. It didn’t just happen overnight.”
The same can be said of Ilic, who plans to wrestle at Worcester (Mass.) Polytechnic Institute.
“He’s a quality kid,” Dasti said. “He’ll be hard to replace, too. He’s another guy who worked his tail off in the offseason. The success that he and P.J. had didn’t just come. They had to work very hard in the offseason to get here.”
Coach Wells had this to say about Carifi. “Justin will be missed greatly next season as his contributions to the team helped propel us to 6 wins this season. I know that many kids on the team this season and even in the PTWC (Parsippany Recreation Wrestling Club) will look up to him and strive for the greatness he has attained in his four years at Parsippany Hills High School. I only had the privilege of coaching Justin for 1 season, this being my first year as head coach at PHHS. I was impressed by his determination to be the best he could be, pushing him to always wanting to improve. He faced many challenges throughout the season, even in the state tournament. But, in the face of adversity Justin stepped up and performed his best. I was happy to see that Justin was able to finish in the top 12 in the state. Though this was not his ultimate goal at the end of the season, I was proud to be in his corner for his final season as a high school wrestler. I wish I had 3 more years with him, but I wish him the best of luck and look forward to what he can do at the collegiate level.”