December 24, 2013 at 12:10 AM
WEST CALDWELL, NJ - The "Caldwell High School Wrestling Tournament" is an annual holiday classic which continues the tradition of opening day wrestling excellence in West Caldwell. Nine high school teams from Hackettstown, Hunterdon Central Regional, Caldwell, Kittatinny Regional, Paramus, Randolph, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, Sommerville and West Deptford competed in the event on Saturday at James Caldwell High School.
The team battled to a fourth place team finish and had seven wrestlers place in the top three of their weight classes. The annual event is considered one of the most competitive tournaments in New Jersey. Caldwell's performance Saturday was a promising way to start the 2013-14 campaign.
Leading the team was sophomore Dean Caravela who finished in first place and was voted "Most Outstanding Wrestler" along with Hunterdon Central's Gary Dinmore, a NJ State Finalist. This achievement marks the first time in Caldwell’s wrestling history that a Caldwell team member has held the Outstanding Wrestler title for this event. Caravela ended the day with a 19-4 technical fall in the semi-finals and a 9-1 major decision in the finals, earning him the top spot at 113 lbs. The last time the team had a first place finisher was when State Champion Steve Martell took the honors in 2004.
Senior Joe Bongo earned his way into the 195 lb finals and gave his Kittatinny Regional opponent all he could handle
Freshman Christian Dalla Riva started his high school wrestling career with a third place finish at 126 lbs
Senior Captain Ryan Condit also finished third along with top seeded sophomore Ryan Schaffer and seniors Mario Pitch and Joe Galioto
Freshman Kyle Maw knocked off a top seeded senior with a dramatic pin on his way to a fifth place finish at 106
Senior Captain Nick Russomanno finished fifth along with classmates Jack Watson and Ian Davison
- Seniors Joe Valentino and Mason Pitch finished in sixth and seventh on the day
The team will head to Bloomfield High School on Saturday, Dec. 28, for another annual wrestling classic as they face off in the Bloomfield Holiday Tournament. Wrestling is set to begin at 9 a.m.
Dean Caravela and Gary Dinmore Credit: Ed Gibbons