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Talented Killian gets last chance at elusive postseason success


Middle Township High School wrestling coach Matt Wolf calls Alick Killian “the best wrestler in the state never to wrestle at the state tournament.”

He may not be exaggerating.

Killian, a senior, gets one last chance to prove his mettle in the individual postseason, beginning Saturday with the District 31 Tournament at Delsea Regional High School. He’s seeded second at 150 pounds.

The top three finishers in each weight class qualify for next week’s Region 8 Tournament. Qualifiers from the region tournaments reach the ultimate goal – wrestling in the state tournament in Atlantic City.


“It definitely feels like a lot of pressure because this is may last chance,” said Killian. “But I’ve been talking to my coaches and they’ve been trying to take that pressure away. I just have to trust my training.”

Killian enters the district tournament with a season record of 26-2 and a career mark of 86-23.

Despite that impressive record, Killian has found nothing but bad luck when it comes to the postseason. He went a solid 23-15 as a freshman but lost in the quarterfinals at districts while competing in a deep weight class. Killian then posted a 30-4 record as a sophomore, only to tear the labrum in his right shoulder during the team’s playoff match against West Deptford. He missed the entire individual postseason and eventually underwent surgery to repair the injury.

He was healthy as a junior, but the COVID-19 pandemic created a shortened spring season during which Killian won seven of his nine matches. He did not qualify to compete in the individual postseason after a confusing and, some would say, extremely unfair system of selecting qualifiers was implemented due to the pandemic. Killian was selected as a region qualifier but did not actually get to wrestle.

Beginning this weekend, four years of hard work gets put to the test as Killian finally gets the chance to make a name for himself in the individual postseason.

“Because he’s missed this in the past, we’ve been trying to stress to him just to try to enjoy it,” Wolf said. “This is what he’s been waiting for. He’s a good enough wrestler. He’s done the work. He’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever had inside the room and then even outside the room with everything he does to make sure his body is right. We just want him to enjoy the process. He finally gets the opportunity to wrestle. He needs to enjoy it and have fun.”

Killian will compete in a tough weight class. Delsea’s Austin Boss is the top seed.

Killian goes into districts having experienced success in tournament settings already this season. He’s won his weight class at tournaments held at Hammonton, Palmyra and Red Bank Regional, taking home Most Valuable Wrestler honors at the Palmyra event.

“Right now I feel pretty confident,” Killian said. “I just have to treat this like any other tournament and take it one round at a time. I’m trying to go and win it.”

Killian, who is looking to wrestle at the Division III level in college (The College of New Jersey has shown interest), is a strong favorite to at least finish among the top three in his weight class and move on to the Region 8 Tournament.

“My weight class is pretty stacked at 150 but I’ve wrestled a few of those kids,” he said. “I think I can close to the gap on them and make it to states this year.”

It would make for a fitting finish to a career that deserves all the accolades that come with a deep postseason run.