SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- For the first time ever, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School will be the host of the District 13 Wrestling Tournament this weekend. Participating schools are A.L. Johnson (Clark), Elizabeth, Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, St. Peter's Prep, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Seton Hall Prep, and Summit.
The NJSIAA awarded Scotch Plains-Fanwood the District 13 competition when it opened up bidding for host sites in the fall. Coach Marc Fabiano and athletic director Ryan Miller threw the Raiders' hat into the ring. Host schools incur the costs of staging the tournaments, however they to keep the proceeds from admissions and concessions.
"I am really excited about hosting districts at SPF. My teammates and I always talked about how cool and special it would be to have districts at SPF. So when the opportunity came, I wanted to do all I could to have it here," said head coach Marc Fabiano. "The kids, families, and alumni have all had positive things to say when they heard districts was at SPF."
The Raiders entered 14 varsity wrestlers in the tournament, including team captains Jack Cannon, Nick Palazzolo and Sam Wustefeld, the No. 1 seed at 182 lbs. Bobby Mount, a junior, has quietly had a strong season.
"I'm going to take it one match at a time," Mount said after Thursday's practice. "My goal is first place and then to go to the regions."
One wrestler who started the season under the radar and blossomed this season is Jeremy Lenart, the No. 2 seed at 113 lbs.
"Jeremy has really impressed," said team captain Jack Cannon. "He's only been with us for two years and already has 20 wins. He wrestles tough."
- 106 lbs: Michael Fleck, No. 3 seed (21-14)
- 113 lbs: Jeremy Lenart, No. 2 seed (20-15)
- 120 lbs: Justin Sidebottom, No. 4 seed (19-17)
- 126 lbs: Jacob Perone, No. 6 seed (14-22)
- 132 lbs: Mateo Velez, No. 9 seed (6-22)
- 138 lbs: Jack Cannon, No. 3 seed (23-12)
- 145 lbs: Michael Ramos, No. 7 seed (16-17)
- 152 lbs: Nick Palazzolo, No. 2 seed (20-10)
- 160 lbs: Alex Oslislo, No. 4 seed (19-16)
- 170 lbs: Zach Fleischman, No. 4 seed (13-16)
- 182 lbs: Sam Wustefeld, No. 1 seed (32-3)
- 195 lbs: Eddie Smith, No. 2 seed (19-14)
- 220 lbs: Bobby Mount, No. 2 seed (24-11)
- 285 lbs: Billy Root, No. 8 seed (9-15)
"Going into districts we have a lot of wrestlers in good positions to do well," Coach Fabiano said. "They all need to wrestle their best and leave it all on the mat. As a team I hope we place top 3, and individually I hope we can have a couple champions!"
Weigh-ins begin at 8:00 a.m., and the first match of the day will start at 9:30 a.m. Each athlete will compete in up to four matches (pre-quarters, quarters, semifinals, and finals), and the top three finishers in each weight class will move onto the regional tournament that begins on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at Union High School and continues on Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25. After the regionals, the state Meet of Champions will take place in Atlantic City on March 3-5.