LIVINGSTON, NJ — After two seasons coming up short of sending a Lancer into the NJSIAA Wrestling State Championships, the Livingston High School Varsity Wrestling team will have 113-pound Anthony Petrillo represent the Lancers in Atlantic City on Friday, March 4.
Third-seeded Petrillo, with the help of two early takedowns in previous rounds, defeated second-seeded Victor Lopez 6-4 in the Region 4 semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 27 at West Orange High School. Lopez has defeated Petrillo three times throughout their wrestling careers, but the LHS coaching staff knew it was only a matter of time until the tables would turn.
“To make Atlantic City as a sophomore is a huge accomplishment,” said LHS Varsity Wrestling head coach Thomas Noto after watching the upset. “We all believed in him and he performed that way.”
Punching his ticket to Atlantic City with a second-place finish in the Region 4 semifinals, Petrillo’s coach said the Lancer has all of Livingston behind him as he heads into the state championship finals.
Six more Lancers competed alongside Petrillo in the Region 4 tournament on Saturday, after they each placed in the top three for their individual weight classes in the District 14 tournament last week. The other six wrestlers included Matt Nichter (106), Anthony Petrillo (113), Matt Burack (120), Kenny Newman (152), Austin Paris (182), Casey Kimmel (220), and Alejandro Morales (285). Petrillo, Nichter and Burack each advanced to Friday night’s quarterfinal round.
Noto said Nichter (106) and Burack (120) each put in fantastic performances at the Regional tournament, placing each of them in great positions for the season next year despite coming short of competing in the state championship. Ultimately, Nichter placed in the top 64 in the state at 106 lbs., while Burack ended up in the top 48 at 120 lbs.
“It’s been fun watching these boys turn into young men,” said Coach Dan Brill. “The fact that we have all of these guys next season is a very exciting thought.”