As many of you already know, this past season was Section 1 coordinator Eric Romanino’s last at the helm. Since I took over this beat four years ago, Eric has been an absolute pleasure to deal with. He has a passion for the sport, great organizational skills, and really stays on top of everything. Under his guidance, Section 1 wrestling has made some huge strides—both on the mat and behind the scenes. He’s regarded as one of the best coordinators from any sport in Section 1, and it’s a justified reputation. He took Valhalla AD Jamie Block under his wing and has prepared him to take over, so I’m confident that the section won’t miss a beat. But Romo will certainly be missed…
After coaching the Beacon varsity team from 1980-1995, Romanino took over as the section’s coordinator in 1997 and has overseen drastic changes that have propelled wrestling to become a more prominent and recognizable sport.
Now, he’ll move on to the next phase of his life in retirement, with Valhalla athletic director Jamie Block taking over the reins as Section 1 coordinator.
“I’m retiring in December from my school district, and it gives me time to spend with my family,” said Romanino, who is also the Beacon athletic directorsaid. “I’m still going to be involved somewhat with helping Jamie behind the scenes.”
Under Romanino’s guidance, Section 1 was the first in New York state to implement regional weight assessments, which tracks the weights of each wrestler and prevents severe cutting.
He also helped develop a point system for sectional seeding that has been modeled state-wide, started the Section 1 Dual Meet Championships and pushed wrestling coaches to use modern technology to their advantage, with the nwcaonline.com site serving as a comprehensive database.
“He’s one of the most respected ADs in the section,” Block saidof Romanino. “He’s set a great vision for wrestling and put Section 1 on a great path to get to where we are today.”
Romanino has also seen Section 1 improve its standing in the state in recent years, finishing third overall in Division 1 last weekend in the state tournament, which progress he credits to wrestlers’ taking a more “year round” approach to the sport.
“Wrestling has been a part of my life since I was in eighth grade,” Romanino said. “I wrestled a little bit in college, and when I graduated, I started coaching. When I decided to get into administration, this was an avenue to stay involved with the sport that I love.”
Block has worked closely with Romanino for several years in anticipation of taking over, and Romanino expects the transition to be seamless.
“Jamie is a great athletic administrator,” Romanino said. “His attention to detail is like mine, and he has a passion for the sport — and he’s younger, so he has the energy. He’s very well-respected with coaches, so I’m confident that he’ll do a good job.”