LIVINGSTON, N.J. - Four years ago, before ever wrestling as a Lancer, then freshman Brad Krosser set a goal to reach 100 career wins. He reached that milestone on Wednesday night at home, in a 36-30 loss to Nutley, closing the book on just one of many goals Krosser still has left to accomplish.
"It means a lot," Krosser said. "I remember my freshman year, writing that down as one of my goals, to have 100 wins, so it's definitely special to do it at home and to be the fifth wrestler in Livingston history to do it."
The senior, 152 pounder left no doubts in his bout against Nutley's Anthony Mecca, dominating the match from beginning to end. He began the opening round with an immediate takedown, and after scoring another on a double leg, and converting that into five back points, Krosser was already up 9-1 at the end of the first and on his way.
After earning another takedown and near-fall to take a commanding 14-1 lead, Krosser allowed an escape and then almost immediately took Mecca back down to the mat, and this time Mecca wasn't able to wiggle out of the pin. Krosser earned the fall and his 100th victory with a pin in 3:27.
"100 wins means you have to get at least 25 every year, so you have to be in the lineup all year, every year and it is a special thing," Livingston head coach Thomas Noto said. "It's a kid that's dedicated to the sport of wrestling."
There were some hugs, some cheers and a few high fives, but no serious celebration for Krosser, who has already shifted focus to the next goals along his path.
"It's one of my goals, but it's one of many goals," Krosser said. "There's still a lot of work to be done...I feel good, all of my goals are still within reach right now, I just have to keep training."
"Brad has an unbelievable will to want to wrestle," Noto said. "He is very aggressive and he loves the sport...He just really wants to be out there, and he loves the sport."
At the time, Krosser's victory breathed some life into a Lancer squad which began with a 12-point deficit, due to forfeits at 106 and 113 pounds. However, Nutley earned close minor decisions in three of the next four bouts, allowing some separation, which Nutley ended up needing.
Following an overpowering performance by Livingston's Matt Tamburri over Robert Spagnuolo, earning a pin in 1:15, the match was tied at 30, with only one bout remaining. Nutley heavyweight, Peter Burbank used a hip toss on Alex Bauer and never let him off of the mat. Spagnuolo got the pin and the win for Nutley in 50 seconds.
"I thought our team wrestled awesome," Krosser said. "That team is the defending Essex County champs. So coming within six points. It's a shame we didn't win, but I'm definitely proud of the guys."
Entering the third tied at two with Nutley's Michael Fazzini, Joey Zarro allowed an escape to start the period, giving Fazzini a 3-2 lead. Neither wrestler was able to manage another score, giving Fazzini the minor.
At 170, Mike Danenburg fell behind Nutley's Joe Iorio, giving up an early takedown in the first round, but evened the score with a nice crotch roll. However, Iorio escaped and then started the second with another takedown, taking a 5-2 lead. Danenburg managed two more escape points, but ultimately could not get the takedown he needed, losing 5-4.
"I thought the we fought hard," Noto said. "We lost a lot of matches close, instead of getting pinned. I thought that we could've done a little better and maybe won some of the close matches, but I was happy with the effort."
TJ Bent, after failing to score in the first period, used an escape and then a powerful double leg takedown in the second period to take control of his 182 pound bout against Patrick Callaghan. Bent got the pin down with 37.8 seconds left in the middle period, and brought the Lancers within nine.
Tommy Heller got things started for Livingston against Anthony DeLorenzo, at 120 pounds. Heller got off to a slow start, earning just one takedown in the first two periods, an escape and a point for unnecessary roughness against DeLorenzo. But Heller earned three takedowns in the third, two on singles and one on a double, eventually winning a 10-2 major. Because DeLorenzo slammed his head gear on the mat, Nutley was penalized one team point after this bout.
But Nutley won two of the next three bouts. The first was Anthony Puzzo pinning Jimmy Vindici in 3:36, at 126-pounds. Livingston's Jason Estevez, and one of the top wrestlers in the state at 132 pounds, responded with an 18-3 tech fall at 3:40. However, the Raiders took the next two, with Ralph DiPasquale getting a 7-3 minor over Livingston's James Lax at 138 and Stephen Scuttaro earning a 10-0 major against Daniel Mazour at 145, giving the visitors a 24-9 lead.
Livingston, which fell to 6-11, is in action again at home on Saturday against Belleville. Nutley improved to 6-9 and will be in a quad meet at Park Ridge High School on Saturday morning.