By Joseph Staszewski
Randall Wilson was just a face in the crowd before earning recognition for being just exactly that.
The John Adam’s cricket star was featured in the special Faces of the Crowd section of Sports Illustrated’s June 24 issue because of his stellar career at the South Ozone Park school and for being a member of the United States Under-19 cricket national team. The weekly section is dedicated to honoring outstanding amateur athletes. Wilson was ecstatic to be included.
“To be featured in Sports Illustrated is just amazing,” he said.
It only added to the way his friends viewed what he did and accomplished, he said. They knew he was good at the sport and has been a part of United States cricket for the last four years, but they didn’t quite understand how prestigious that was. Cricket is not a major sport in the U.S. All of a sudden he had national recognition.
“They don’t know it’s much bigger than that,” Wilson said. “Since they saw it in the Sport Illustrated I’ve told them about it. Everyone is like, ‘He is really playing at a high level.’”
Wilson has arguably been the best cricket player in New York City since he was a sophomore, earning three straight Mayor’s Cup most valuable player awards. Most recently Wilson was named the PSAL Wingate Award winner, given to the top senior in each of the league’s sports. Spartans coach Alex Navarrete then made good on his promise to offer Randall’s story to Sports Illustrated.
“The guy is amazing,” the coach said.
Being in Faces in the Crowd brought to light some of the great accomplishments of one of the nation’s best athletes in his sport, which is usually passed over in a sports scene more concerned with basketball, baseball and football.
The all-arounder led the PSAL in wickets taken with 20 in just eight matches this season. He had to miss two games late in the season to travel to Florida to try out for the national team and Adams, who had lost just once at the time, ended up dropping both.
“It shows you how much of a difference this kid can make,” Navarrete said.
Wilson had four career 100-run games, including a career-high of 164 without recording an out. Wilson will compete with the U.S. National team in July at the Division One ICC Americas Championships in Toronto. Randall takes nothing for granted.
“I know there are a lot of people out there who want the position,” Randall said. “I just have to keep working and working to prove to other people that I belong there.”
Naverrete believes he does and the longer he keeps playing with the U.S. cricket teams the better chance he has of becoming a professional in the sport and possibly playing for the country’s senior national team. Wilson would like nothing more.
“I play for fun, but if there is an opportunity to play for the national team when I get older, I would really enjoy that moment,” Wilson said. “That’s my goal.”