LIVINGSTON, NJ- Livingston High School wrestlers Jason Estevez and Brad Krosser are both one step closer to a state wrestling championship, winning their districts during Saturday's District 14 tournament.
Both will compete in next week's regional tournament at West Orange High School.
The Lancers wrestling team finished fourth as a whole, with 144.5 points in the tournament behind Bloomfield, 184 points, Belleville, 186.5 points, and two-time defending champions Nutley, 213 points.
Estevez (35-0), who is currently ranked second in the state, defeated Stanley Dameus (23-12) of Bloomfield High School on a technical fall to win the 132 lbs. weight class. Estevez had a 15-point lead at 16-1 instituting the fall. The dominating performance by the Livingston senior only seemed to solidify his spot as one of New Jersey’s top wrestlers.
“Feels pretty good [to win]. This one of my three post-season goals, [district], regions, and states,” Estevez said after his match. “I think I did everyone right this match, I don’t think I made any mistakes really.”
Coaches, fans, and wrestlers alike seemed to agree with Estevez’s remarks, voting him the District 14 Tournament most outstanding wrestler.
Eztevez was not the lone Lancer star. Krosser (33-1), who is currently No. 8 in the state, defeated Chris Collado (18-17) of Bloomfield High School on a technical fall as well, to win the 152 lbs. weight class. Krosser had a 17-2 lead.
Following his decisive victory, Krosser stated the main reason behind his utter dominance was the sheer amount of time and energy he has spent on improving his skills.
“I put a lot of hard work into it,” the three-time District 14 champion said. “I’ve put a lot of effort into this sport.”
Livingston head coach Tom Noto was extremely impressed with his star wrestlers.
“Perfect is what you’re always trying to get, and [Estevez] was pretty perfect tonight,” Noto said. “[Krosser] got a technical foul too in the finals, he did really well. All of the things as a coach that I critique him on, he did well.”
The Lancers nearly had a third champion Saturday night in Tommy Heller. Heller (25-5) made the finals for the 120 lbs. weight class. Unlike his counterparts, Heller suffered a heartbreaking 5-4 defeat to Nutley's Robert Trombetta (19-3).
Heller’s defeat was not the only devastating loss for Livingston; the Lancers had eight wrestlers (James Lax, Daniel Mazour, Joey Zarro, Mike Danenberg, Mike Melvin, Matt Tamburri, Sam Stephenson, and Alex Bauer) in the consolation matchups but were unable to pull out a single victory.
“It was a little heartbreaking,” Noto said. “You wait all season for a kid to try to take third and move on to regions, and we lost some overtime and one point matchups. There’s nothing you can do but move on.”
Behind Estevez and Krosser, the Lancers were able to walk away with their heads held high, but it was the Nutley Raiders who came away with the ultimate success winning their second consecutive District Tournament, to go along with their back-to-back Essex County Tournament team championships.
Anthony DeLorenzo, Robert Trombetta, Scott Scuttaro, Brandon Keena, Vinnie Mainiero, and Peter Burbank all won the finals in their respected weight classes to help lead the Raiders to victory.
“Feels good, it was a lot of hard work,” Nutley head coach Frank DiPiano said. “Now we just got to make this last big push."