Wrestling is an individual sport. One wrestler pitted against another. One on one for three periods, fans screaming encouragement, coaches yelling instructions, and one referee there to ensure fair competition. Nine individuals have been inducted into the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame for their contributions to the wrestling program. The 1986 wrestlers are the first team to be so honored.
Even though it is a fiercely individual sport on the mat, the 1986 Wrestling Team embodied the togetherness and the single-minded purpose necessary to achieve excellence and goals individually and as a squad. Many attribute the team’s success to Coach Keith “Hulk” Holcombe. To this day, his wrestlers celebrate his efforts in helping them be better wrestlers and better people, teaching life lessons on and off the mat - “no short cuts.” This group of individuals became a team because of Coach Holcombe.
Yet it is their accomplishment on the wrestling mat that brings them here today. As a team, the 1986 squad finished with a dual meet record of 15-2-1, becoming Mercer County Champions, Prep State Champions, and 2nd Place winners at the Prep National Tournament. The team won the Mercer County Tournament by breaking the old team scoring mark by 50 points. Since 1969, it is one of only three prep teams - all from Peddie - to deny perennial power Blair Academy the state title.
The team was loaded with talented individuals. Led by Outstanding Wrestler award winner and national champion Marty Fajerman ’87 (career 125-4 mark) and his brother Eric Fajerman ’89, John Jones Award winner Frank Crivelli ’87, and seniors Sal Profaci, Brent Bowen, Rick Moskowitz, Frank Armante, Brad Pecoraro and Jeff Burke, the individual awards piled up, too. The team had eight Mercer County Champions and six Prep State Champions. At Prep Nationals, three wrestlers won individual championships, with three others finishing 2nd, 5th, and 7th.
Long time Peddie wrestling coach Bob Tifft, who coached wrestling and taught at Peddie from 1937 until his retirement in 1980, and is himself a 1987 inductee to The Hall, believed this was the greatest team in Mercer County history. It is now fittingly the first wrestling team to be inducted into the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame. Congratulations to the 1986 Wrestling Team.