BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Gov. Livingston Highlanders saw seven different grapplers record pins as they rolled past the David Brearley High School (Kenilworth) Bears in their home opener by a final score of 64-12 Wednesday night in Berkeley Heights.
In the first match, GL freshman Jake Quandt (152) faced off against Brearley’s Kyle Lynaugh. Quandt took charge of the match with a takedown and a reversal before ultimately winning the match with a pin at the 1:43-mark of the first round, producing six team points to give the Highlanders a 6-0 lead.
Quandt credits the hard work done over the offseason as a way of helping him capture his first win as a varsity player.
“It felt really good to play on varsity and all the hard work in practice we put in, it paid off,” Quandt said.
The next match of the evening featured GL junior James Synder (160) facing off against Brearley’s John Braun. The two battled through the first round, with Synder producing three takedowns and a three-point near fall, before winning with a pin at the 2:32-mark (0:32-mark of the second round).
Sophomore Joe Scalora (170) took to the mat against Brearley’s Rick Middleton, a match that ended at the 1:03-mark of the first round, as Scalora produced a takedown on his opponent before pinning down his opponent to secure the win.
The Highlanders picked up six more points from Scalora’s win and were rewarded 12 additional points on Brearley forfeits in the 182-pound and 195-pound weight classes to take a commanding 30-0 lead.
“It felt really good, especially with all the hard work we put into the offseason to the regular season, it felt great,” Scalora said.
The next match had GL senior Mike Maglicano (220) square off against Brearley’s Ciaran Dougherty, with Maglicano taking down his opponent and winning just 11 seconds in with a pindown, putting GL ahead by a score of 36-0.
“The kids went out and wrestled really well,” GL head coach Rick Ortega said. “They’ve been bustling their butts in the offseason and lot of them got a lot better. I tell them every time they step on the mat, ‘Go out there and compete.’”
Maglicano praised his teammates for coming through in their matches to lead to the team win.
“It was awesome, anytime that we can have a win or dominate like that, it’s great,” Maglicano said of his team’s performance on the night.
Damon Ippolito (285) took on Brearley’s Niko Perez and added another six points after a takedown and a pindown at the 0:33-mark of the first round of the meeting.
Brearley’s Pat Phillips (106) and Frank Silva (120) recorded victories to get Brearley’s 12 points on the evening.
The Highlanders received six total points over the next two matches with sophomore Harrison Kelly (113) outscoring Brearley’s Rebecca Pizuto 8-4 in match points. Kelly recorded an escape, a reversal and a two-point near fall to put his team ahead 45-12.
“We emphasize bonus points all the time,” Ortega said. “We tell them to get the pin. It’s an individual sport, but it’s a team sport so we tell them when we go out there, we’re working for a fall all the time.”
GL junior Marcelo Laygo (126) added another six points on the scoreboard for his team after a victory over Brearley’s Nick Stampoulis, the score now 51-12 Highlanders.
GL captured their seventh and final win of the evening with sophomore Connor Vill defeating Brearley’s Andrew Chirego with a pindown at the 2:42-mark.
“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing,” Ortega said, looking ahead to the rest of the season. “We’ll get better every time we step out on the mat and have some fun with it.”
The GL Highlanders (1-0) head off on the road to face off in their next match at Elizabeth HS Friday at 7 p.m.
The David Brearley (Kenilworth) Bears (0-2) head back on the road to face off in their next match at Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS Saturday at 2 p.m.