By Sean Farrell – Record Sports Department
Mickey O’Malley doesn’t know the exact words on the shiny trophy now displayed on his dining room table.
After all, the Golden Boot he won in Buenos Aires isn’t in English.
“It says something in Spanish about the athlete that is most decorated,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley has a new passport and some more hardware this summer.
He just got back from Argentina after a week representing the United States at the Cadet Pan American Championships.
The Hasbrouck Heights star won gold at 76 kg (about 167 pounds) in freestyle wrestling and silver in the Greco-Roman tournament.
The national anthem even played as he stood atop the podium.
“It was awesome,” O’Malley said. “I loved representing USA. It was my first time out of the country so it was a new experience seeing a different area.”
O’Malley will go down as one of the most decorated wrestlers in Hasbrouck Heights history.
Actually, he already is.
Physically dominant and hard to score on, O’Malley gives the Group 1 Aviators an almost automatic win wherever he goes in the lineup.
Going into his senior year, he owns a 123-12 career record.
That puts him 32 victories away from becoming the school’s all-time leader.
“Wins don’t really mean that much to me because you could have a hundred million wins and not be a state champion,” O’Malley said. “I think it would be way more meaningful to be a state champ than to have the most wins.”
O’Malley hasn’t been far off from that goal the last few years.
The lowest he’s taken in any high school tournament is fifth.
Every season, he’s won at least 30 matches and placed in the state.
He took third this March in Atlantic City by getting three pins and two technical falls during an impressive weekend.
FloWrestling ranked him No. 12 in the country at 170 in their first list for next winter.
“He’s a great athlete,” coach Craig Messery said. “He’s strong, and a very calm kid. Nothing really gets him too excited. He looks at a wrestling match as a chess match. He’s very methodical in what he does on the mat. He looks at the sport a little differently than the average high school kid.”
O’Malley started wrestling at age 7 and even convinced his older brother to join him.
Though just a grade older, Sean O’Malley competed at a much higher weight class so the two rarely went head-to-head.
“I was going to go [to high school] wherever he went,” Mickey said. “Then he decided to stay at Heights so I decided to stay at Heights too.”
Mickey O’Malley hasn’t decided where he will go next.
He wants to wrestle in college and the possible landing spots are impressive – Columbia, Rutgers and Princeton to name a few.
The legacy he will leave behind in Bergen County won’t soon be forgotten.
“He’s a really good kid with a really good heart,” Messery said. “He helps out a lot in the room and all the kids love him. All the little guys in the rec look up to him. Having him and his brother in the program has been an honor for the last three years.”
“I didn’t think I would be like that,” O’Malley said, modestly. “I didn’t think that kids would look up to me. But now that I’m here, wow. I guess I am big to some people.”