West Orange High School Wrestlers Qualify for States in Atlantic City

Jordan Velez with WOHS coaches, celebrating his 100th victory. Credits: Erika Bakirtzis
Chris Morgan. Credits: Erika Bakirtzis
Chris Morgan wins 182 lb. semifinals; heads to states. Credits: Chris Morgan

WEST ORANGE. NJ - West Orange High School Senior Jordan Velez won his 100th match during the semifinals this weekend to gain a bid in the NJSIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament to be held on March 7 in the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall Arena. 

In addition to Velez, Junior Chris Morgan won his semifinal championship in the 185 lb. category, and Velez took second in the 145 lb. category, qualifying both for the finals.

All six WOHS region qualifiers placed in the top eight:

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106- Freshman Victor Lopez; Fourth Place; 113- Junior Isaiah Adams- 5/6 Place; 120; Senior Kevin Guardado- 5/6th Place; and 132- Senior Antonio Penna 7/8th Place. 145- Senior Jordan Velez- 2nd Place; 182- Junior Christopher Morgan, First Place.

With his 100-win milestone, Velez becomes only the fourth wrestler in West Orange High School history to hit the mark and to be acknowledged for the monumental occasion in front of die-hard wrestling fans, in his gym, in a match that gained him a trip to compete in states in Atlantic City. 

Wrestling coach Stephan Zichella said, "As his coach for many years, I had to fight the emotions back to keep my composure. Jordan has put wrestling and his commitment to our program so high in his life. It was just a great moment to see him accomplish two amazing feats at once."

Zichella continued, "I've coached Jordan for almost 10 years, and he has one of the most dependable, compassionate and talented athletes I've had the honor of working with. It was just a great honor to share that moment with him, and I will never forget it."

Of Chris Morgan, Zichella told the Alternative Press "Christopher Morgan (2014 Record- 35-1) was the top seed in his weight class and he cruised with two easy wins in both the quarterfinals and the semifinal bouts. In the finals Chris managed an excellent match. He defeated undefeated Jan Castellanos of Seacacus by the score of 5-4. Chris becomes only the fifth West Orange Wrestler in School history to become Region Champion."

Zichella said the goal of Velez and Morgan is for both wrestlers to medal to make it to the top 8 in the state.

There have only been three other WOHS wrestlers that have placed in the states: Tommy Lorenzo, 4th (2006) and 6th (2005); Emiliano Betancor, 4th (2010) and 6th (2011); and Anthony Angelone, 4th (2012).

Additionally, only three other WOHS wrestlers have have won 100+ matches in their high school careers: 126 Wins- Tommy Lorenzo (2006); 103 Wins- Emiliano Betancor (2011); 100 Wins- Moe Vazquez (2009), and 100 Wins- Jordan Velez (2014). 


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