Sports

Berkeley Heights PAL Wrestling Crowns 3 Champs, 10 Place Winners at League Tourney

1fd811396535dc23c13b_CJ_tourney_champs_Nate_Looch_Cristian_2018.jpg
Central Jersey Tournament Champs: Nate Faxon, Lucciano Santamaria, and Cristian Gioia Credits: BH PAL
67223c76a1c55e8fe103_central_jersey_placewinners_2018__1_.jpg
Central Jersey Placewinners. Credits: BH PAL
1fd811396535dc23c13b_CJ_tourney_champs_Nate_Looch_Cristian_2018.jpg

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - After an eight-year absence, the Berkeley Heights PAL travel wrestling team made the bold decision to return to the elite Central Jersey League for the 2017-2018 season. The boys finished 7-7 in dual meet competition but saved their best for the prestigious year end tourney where they crowned three champions and 10 place winners out of 17 weight classes in the varsity division.

Fifth grader Lucciano Santamaria won the 67-pound division after pinning a tough opponent from Union in the finals. “Looch” scored repeatedly with a variety of leg attacks before getting the fall with a vicious reverse half nelson. Mountainside sixth grader Cristian Gioia came out of the No. 3 seed spot in the 80-pound division and ran the table with three consecutive wins including a major decision in the finals against a very experienced Edison opponent. None of Gioia’s opponents had an answer for his “Blair Ride” and cross wrist tilt series from the offensive position. At heavyweight fifth grader and top seed Nate Faxon pinned his way through the tourney to earn the gold medal.  The 10-year-old Faxon locked up a devastating cross-face cradle to stick a 12-year-old Middlesex wrestler in the finals.

In addition to these three champions, Berkeley Heights had seven other placewinners in the varsity division. Sixth graders Christian Sabatino (77 pounds) and Mac Chiefa (83) both finished as runners-up in deep and competitive weight classes. Sixth grader Joe Dasti (110) and third grader Nick Schiano (50) each lost tough semi-final matches but then dominated the consolation rounds to finish in third place. Sixth graders Grant Young (87), Matt Stecher (90) and Jace Wanca (70) all finished in fourth place. These 10 place winners will all advance to the season ending “A Flight” tourney that features the best of the best sixth grade and under wrestlers around.

Sign Up for E-News

Also wrestling in the varsity division were Owen Chait (95 pounds) and Troy Mayer (102). As a team, Berkeley Heights finished a scant three points behind Edison despite missing two key wrestlers due to illness.

Berkeley Heights also crowned a champion in the JV division as lightweight sensation Brandon McGuire brought home the title at 45 pounds. Fifth grader Chris D’Amato had a strong tourney, finishing in third place at JV 90 pounds. Also participating for Berkeley Heights in the JV division were Ollie Chait, Connor Jakubowski, Vincent Liss and Dean Santamaria.

In addition to this remarkable performance in Central Jersey and a fine season in the 8th grade and under North Jersey league, several Berkeley Heights matmen have been competing on the USA Wresting circuit with three young grapplers qualifying for the NJ State Championships to be held March 10th and 11th in Trenton. Nate Faxon qualified at 10 and under (125 pounds) where he looks to improve on his fifth place finish from the 2016 state championships. Cristian Gioia, who qualified at 12 and under (80 pounds), finished one match short of the podium last season and is poised to make a deep run in this year’s event.  Seventh grader Dante Gioia, who will be competing at 14 and under (85 pounds) is a definite state title threat at 85 pounds despite being the youngest grappler in his bracket.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mountainside

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 20, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

The Masterwork Chorus Launches 19th Summer Sing ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Between Park Street and Washington Street, Westfield

Walking Tour: What Makes a Great House and ...

Home & Garden

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Madison

Kids' Critter Camp

Education

Mon, June 25, 10:00 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Summer Reading Kick-Off: Eyes of the Wild

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, June 27, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Two to Feature Vivaldi ...

Arts & Entertainment

Eagle Scout Project Yields Flag Retirement Facility in Springfield, Ceremony Thursday

June 17, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Frankie Sarracino of Boy Scout Troop #73 of Springfield had an inspiration during his first camping trip.  He came with an idea for his Eagle Scout project.  It was to build a flag retirement facility at the Chisholm Community Center.

Only a few organizations are allowed to retire flags and the Boy Scouts are one of them..  Some others include the Girl Scouts, ...

Moms Helping Moms Foundation Receives Overwhelming Support from Community to Help Mothers this Mother’s Day

June 20, 2018

Mother’s Day is often celebrated by showering the women in our lives with beautiful flowers, heartfelt cards, and taking them on special outings to show them how much they mean to us. Yet, for many low-income mothers living in our community, they struggle each day to provide the basics for their babies.

Diapers are a necessity yet one in three families in the United States lack an ...

Sleep out at Covenant House

June 18, 2018

I can enjoy the same movies over and over like it were the first time to see them.  My kids roll their eyes at this.  Well, many unimaginable things happen as you become a certain age, and you tend to learn to accept those things graciously as gift.   But I remember the movie “The Blind Side.”  Until I saw that movie, I didn’t know homeless children ...

What's Hot and What's Not

Summer is a great time to take a step back, sip a cool beverage, and take a look at what’s going on in the world of college admissions.  Departments use the summer to evaluate how their year went and plan on any changes they want to make for the fall.  Did they over-enroll? Under-enroll?  What application materials were useful to them?  Which were redundant or time ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 10, 2018

Dear Editor:

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by ...