BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The members on the Berkeley Heights PAL travel wrestling team had the match against Chatham circled on their calendar from the start of the season. While Berkeley Heights had beaten local rivals New Providence and Madison the two previous years, none of the boys on the team had ever been part of a win over local powerhouse Chatham. There was a thought that 2017 could be the year, however the Heights squad caught a few rough breaks headed into the match as star 90 pounder Andrew Ciraco suffered a non-wrestling related injury and starting 116 pounder Oscar Steinhardt was also unable to compete. In order to defeat Chatham, many Heights grapplers were going to have to move up a weight class to fill the gaps in the line-up while some fresh faces were also called into action.

Berkeley Heights got off to a hot start as Nick Schiano pinned his opponent at 50 pounds to earn his first North Jersey league victory. Berkeley Heights and Chatham exchanged wins over the next four weight classes before the always reliable Gioia brothers helped Berkeley Heights string together a pair of wins as Cristian (75 pound) earned a major decision victory and Dante (80) kept his undefeated season alive by winning 6-4 over an opponent who had already qualified for the state championships.  To cover the Ciraco injury Jason Rosenberg and Harrison Lloyd both moved up a weight class and both were victorious with Harrison winning his match by pin.

Chatham made a run again, but Berkeley Heights was able to put together another four bout winning streak with all four wrestlers (Kyle Savino, Fred Truncale, Nate Faxon and Tyler Prado) wrestling up a weight class.  At 147 pounds Jake DeLuca pinned his Chatham opponent before Ben Faxon ended the night with a Berkeley Heights victory at heavyweight.  When the match ended the final score read Berkeley Heights 73, Chatham 24…a stark turnaround from last year’s 20 point loss to the same opponent.

Sign Up for E-News

The Berkeley Heights matman continued their winning ways last weekend starting with a Quad (four team match) against Jefferson, Roxbury and Hanover Twp. Ben Faxon and Mac Chiefa led Berkeley Heights as both went 3-0, Faxon had two pins and a 10-0 major decision. Finishing the day with two wins were Jake Quandt (2-0, two pins), Kyle Savino, Jack Sergio, Harrison Lloyd and Joe Dasti.

Immediately after the Quad  the Heights wrestlers drove to New Fairfield, CT where they would participate in the prestigious Rebel Rumble tourney the following morning. Berkeley Heights crowned three champs as Jake DeLuca, Jake Quandt and Nate Faxon all won gold medals. Both DeLuca and Faxon won three matches by pin. Other place winners for Berkeley Heights included Jack Sergio (2nd place), Christian Sabatino (2nd), Mac Chiefa (2nd), Jack Dally (3rd), Ben Faxon (3rd), Jason Rosenberg (4th) and Oscar Steinhardt (4th).

Berkeley Heights hopes to finish strong in February as they compete in the year end tourneys for three different leagues which will include trying to win their third straight NJFS League Tourney championship.