BLOOMFIELD, NJ--For a tournament that tripled in size from year to another, the 2019 Bloomfield Holiday Tournament for girls wrestling was very well received on Dec. 26, at BHS.
Bloomfield High head coach Ryan Smircich, along with assistant coach Jason Galioto ran the tourney, which welcomed nearly 180 girls. Last year's tourney, the first for high school female wrestlers, had about 60 compete.
"It went very well," said Smircich. "All the credit goes to Jason Galioto. He not only did the scoring, but also the announcing and mat assignments. If you've been to any kind of tournament, then you know how difficult it is to do all three at the same time. Jason's the best. He really did a tremendous job."
High school wrestling has caught on well for female wrestlers in New Jersey. Last year, the girls had the chance to compete for state championships at Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City, alongside the boys tourney. This year, many team rosters have skyrocketed for the girls.
"We had a great turnout of kids who competed," said Smircich. "We had some brackets with as many as 32 girls. We used two mats at the main gym and one down in the Pit. We had a lot of cooperation from the other coaches, who helped get the weigh-ins done early and we actually started the tournament about 20 minutes earlier than anticipated.
"Last year, we had 60 girls wrestle at the tournament, and I thought that was good. And now, we had close to 180."
Bloomfield had eight girls compete in the tournament. One, Kira Pipkins, a freshman, turned in a tremendous performance and won the 114-pound weight class, in dominating fashion.
"We've known about Kira for a long time," said Smircich. "She started wrestling in the third grade and has put a lot of time into the sport, already. She's also an accomplished gymnast, and made the choice to wrestle. Kira has worked really hard and I'm not surprised by how well she performed at the tournament. She comes from a very athletic family. And you won't meet a nicer person."
Pipkins defeated the top two seeds en route to a championship.
Claire Daity wrestled well for Bloomfield at 128 pounds, where she eventually finished fourth in a tough weight class.
Aniya Jiminez (143 pounds), Noura Kakadendi (180), Angelina Faura and Nataly Diaz (215) and Giana Faura and Jordyn Parker also wrestled well for the Bengals.
The Bloomfield girls will be back at work on Jan. 5, when the team travels to Fair Lawn High, to face multiple schools.