Wrestler Robbie Maggiulli Prepares for State Tournament
After winning the New Jersey Regional Finals, senior Robbie Maggiulli has high hopes for states.
Senior EPR wrestler, Robbie Maggiulli, recently placed first in the New Jersey Region 2 Championship for high school wrestling. This upcoming weekend, Maggiulli will participate in the state tournament held in Atlantic City where he will go head-to-head with some of the most talented wrestlers in all of New Jersey. Thus far, his season has been ideal. With an undefeated record of 31-0 and a first place win in the District Tournament, Maggiulli has set his sights on a win at the State Championships in his 195lb weight class. However, his journey to states almost didn’t happen.
In December of 2013, Maggiulli suffered from a shoulder injury that jeopardized his senior year of wrestling. Luckily, Maggiulli underwent a successful operation that, along with a series of relentless physical therapy sessions, allowed him to return to the mat speedily.
A shoulder injury isn’t the only thing that Maggiulli has had to overcome. Maggiulli explained that of all the obstacles he has had to overcome, his hearing loss is foremost.
“From day one I’ve had to learn how to wrestle despite not hearing my coaches during practice most, if not all, the time. I’ve had to work 100 times harder just to get the same results as other people.”
But Maggiulli doesn’t let his disability get in the way of his sport he loves.
“I love the sport, everything about it, because it is such a blend of skill, endurance, strength, and heart.”
This combination of athleticism and perseverance has truly impacted Maggiulli who, from wrestling, has learned how to work hard when the tough gets going.
“You are your only friend out there on the mat. You have to go out there and get what you want. Nobody will do it for you.”
It is Maggiulli’s tireless work ethic has ultimately allowed him to succeed. To others who hope to accomplish goals as vast as Maggiulli’s, he says, “No matter the goal, you must believe you can accomplish it. Envision yourself physically achieving it, and you will do it. Believe in yourself, and prepare.”
And prepare is precisely what Maggiulli has done. Along with his attendance at countless practices, Maggiulli has willingly accepted criticism from his coaches who help him improve.
“It has been an honor to be under Coach Woods’ tutelage and Coach Joe Mazzeo’s, whose ‘tough-as-nails’ personality has rubbed into me.”
With two prestigious awards already in his back pocket (the Sgt. Christopher Hrberk Award and the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award), Maggiulli has certainly gained respect from his fellow classmates and teachers who support him in all ways possible. But the biggest support comes from his family.
“I have always had the amazing support of my family, and am ever thankful for their outstanding support. They were the rock solid foundation that I built myself upon, and helped me when I needed them most. Without them, I would not be where I am today.”
Although Maggiulli is in his final year at Emerson Jr. Sr. High School, his career as a wrestler is nowhere near over. Next year, Maggiulli will wrestle at Steven’s Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. He plans to take his goals even higher at the NCAAs. Unlike most high school athletes, whose athletic career terminates senior year of high school, Maggiulli is excited to further his talents in a larger and more competitive setting.
When asked what keeps him going, Maggiulli responded, “My motivation lies within the insatiable desire to always do better. I want to better myself, I want to achieve higher goals, and I want to prove myself. It is the need and desire to go higher and better that motivates me.”
Nonetheless, has his career at Emerson comes to a close, Maggiulli will miss it all.
“Wrestling has meant a lot to my high school life. I loved my four years here. I’ve had many great memories with all of my teammates, and I am thankful for every moment.”
Last year Maggiulli received First Team All-League and Second All-County accolades. He placed second in the district, third in the region, and seventh in the state, finishing with a final record of 39-7. Maggiulli plans to exceed the expectations that he established his junior year and this year, is “shooting to place higher on the podium.” But a humble Maggiulli doesn’t dwell on his achievements. Instead he sees each win as an opportunity to move on and improve next time. Currently, his focus lies on the State Tournament and his prior accomplishments fail to interfere.
“It’s just another reason to keep working harder. Accept the accomplishment, achieve the goal, and then move on to the next one. I’m not really thinking about my accomplishments quite yet, because there is still work to be done, more to do. Each goal achieved and award won is just a small pat on the back.”