BLUE DEVILS CONTI, ROTTER, SLUBERSKI, ZEMSKY WIN
Experience was just too much when the Governor Livingston High School wrestling team traveled to Westfield to step on the mat against a very young Blue Devil squad on December 20. The 2-0 Highlanders’ veteran squad won eight of the 14 scheduled bouts to claim a 49-16 victory.
Last year the Highlanders placed second to the eight-time defending champion Cranford Cougars in the Union CountyTournament (UCT) and returned seven wrestlers that placed either second or first. This season, the Highlanders won the Ricky 1 Tournament, which featured 14 teams, and eradicated the Brearley Bears, 61-15, while the Blue Devils opened their season with a 55-22 victory over the Elizabeth Minutemen.
“Before the match, we told our kids the same thing we always tell them.The expectation is that they will compete hard. Our kids did that. We made some technical or tactical mistakes and lost to a better, more experienced team, but we wrestled hard,” Blue Devil Head Coach Glen Kurz pointed out.
Blue Devil freshman Jake Conti showed no fear against the Highlanders and pinned Brandon McGuire in 44 seconds at 106-lbs. Highlander Chris Sabatino, who placed second in the UCT at 106-lbs last year, claimed an 11-3 majority decision over sophomore Dan Berardi at 113-lbs.
Blue Devil senior Max Rotter took care of business at 120-lbs against Cyr Ryan to grab a 13-5 majority decision. Highlander Henrique Ribeiro (2nd in UCT last year) received a forfeit at 126-lbs then Blue Devil sophomore Luke Sluberski had a rough and tumble bout with Tom DiNorscio at 132-lbs but emerged with a 13-6 win.
Highlander veteran Vince Capone nipped junior Dylan Sontz, 4-3, at 138-lbs then GL’s Jace Wanca received a forfeit at 144-lbs. Joe Dasti (2nd UCT last year) pinned Blue Devil freshman Rob DeRick in 1:01 at 150lbs then Jake Kreisberg (2nd UCT last year) received a forfeit at 157–lbs. Highlander Cristan Gioia (2nd UCT) pinned junior Jack McDermott in 3:44 at 165-lbs.
After Highlander Dan Capone won a 7-5, overtime sudden victory over junior Ben Diziki at 175-lbs, Blue Devil sophomore Jake Zemsky, who recently placed second at the Delaware Valley Invitational, grabbed a 71 decision over Jim Daoulabani at 190-lbs. At 215-lbs, Highlander Nate Faxon (2nd UCT last year) pinned sophomore Pravid Bhatla in :27. GL’s Chris Haddad won by 7-0 decision over Noah Neimiera at 285-lbs.
“We had some nice wins. Jake Conti did not show any signs of nerves in his first varsity match and came away with a solid win. Luke Sluberski battled for a hard-fought win. Ben Diziki and Noah Neimiera lost close matches, but both gave great efforts that we can build on,” Coach Kurz concluded.
After a match with the AL Johnson Crusaders on December 22, the Blue Devils would compete in the Panther Holiday Invitational at Roselle Park tomorrow, Friday, December 29.