BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Gov. Livingston Highlanders wrestling team relished in a 52-18 win on Senior Night against the Westfield Blue Devils in a home match on Friday, Jan. 22.
With the win, GL improves to 8-1 and Westfield drops to 3-6.
Local New Jersey and National Hall of Fame Wrestler and long time Millburn Coaching Legend Gerry Sachsel and John Serruto provided the commentary for the match that will be televised on HomeTown TV on Channel 33 on Verizon and Channel 36 on Comcast.
The results of the Union County Tournament showed that GL was the better team -- placing second overall behind Cranford. However, it was a disappointment to the team and fans that Westfield forfeited in the 285, 195, 182 and 170 weight classes.
"GL would have won under any circumstances because they are the better team -- we saw that in the counties." said Sachsel. [GL placed second, behind Cranford, while Westfield tied for sixth place with SP-F.] "However, it would have been a much closer score."
"It's a shame," said Head Coach Rick Ortega and credits Westfield Coach Glen Kurz with a good team. "Two of the weights they forfeited would have been good matches at the 170 against Turner Haddad and the 182."
Ortega made a few adjustments to his roster and bumped up senior Jack Blasch who has been on a tear on the mats. "Jack is wrestling really well. I hope he continues to improve as he has been doing. He's got a lot of heart- he doesn't stop," said Ortega.
"I bumped Jack up to 220lb. Seeing Phil Ricca at the counties, we knew it was a good matchup," said Ortega. "Being a senior, I wanted him to have a good matchup."
It was an overall good night for his seniors. Nic Mele (120lbs), Andrew Gallitelli (145lb), Nick Deluca (152lb) each recorded pins for the Highlanders. Austin Senkarik and Blasch won by decision. (Senior Jake Pecorelli (106lb) did not wrestle in the match.)
"Nick Mele wrestled really well, he leads the team with Austin," said Ortega. "Those two guys are my go to guys. I usually am a little more calm when they are out there wrestling."
Gallitelli, as always, came out fast on his feet, but Westfield's Alan Dente came out even faster, said Ortega. "It is good to see he is running moves that we work on in the room," he said.
James Snyder 132lb (5-1 decision), Turner Haddad 170lb (forfeit), Chris Bottone 182lb (forfeit), Damon Ippolito 195lb (forfeit) and Dan Tomlinson 285lb (forfeit) contributed to the GL win.
The GL wrestling team honored and celebrated their senior wrestlers and managers Jack Blasch, Nick Deluca, Andrew Gallitelli, Nick Mele, Jake Pecorelli, Austin Senkarik and Senior Team Managers: Ali Mathis, Tori Mellusi, Brianna Richel and their families in a ceremony prior to the meet.
Up next for the Highlanders will face Cranford on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at GL.