BLOOMFIELD, NJ – History was made Saturday as Bloomfield High School hosted the inaugural Girls Wrestling Holiday Tournament. The all-female event was the first of its kind in the state of New Jersey.
In a ground-breaking decision for scholastic wrestling, the NJSIAA approved girls wrestling as a varsity sport for this 2018-19 season. New Jersey is one of a dozen states in the nation, and the only state in the Northeast to offer grappling for girls.
More than 70 girls from 30 different high school across the state, including one from New York, hit the mat and competed in the full-day event.
Participating schools included Belleville, Bergenfield, Bloomfield, Boonton, Burlington City, DePaul, Elmwood Park, Hackettstown, Lakeland, Lodi, Montclair, Morris Knolls, Newton, North Bergen, Parsippany, Phillipsburg, Rahway, Saddle Brook, Secaucus, South Brunswick, Teaneck, Union City, Vernon, Warwick, West Orange, Woodbridge and Wood-Ridge.
“We are firm believers in trying to give girls as many opportunities as we can, and if this helps expedite the process then we’re glad to be a part of it,” Bloomfield Athletic Director Steve Jenkins told TAP. “This is the first floor, per say, but we’re hoping it grows over the course of time.”
Bloomfield had four girls entered in the tournament, including Angelina Faura, Claire Daity, Giana Faura and Jordyn Parker.
“Our four girls that are competing have stayed the test of time and have been here since the beginning and they’ve practiced and worked hard every day,” said Jenkins.
All 57 members of the Bloomfield Boys Varsity and Junior Varsity Wrestling squads were present to root on the girls throughout the tournament.
“You see it in the practice room and you see it here, the collegiality of the wrestling family has an appreciation of how hard you have to work to become a wrestler – you see it amongst opponents so its nice to see it amongst teammates as well,” Jenkins added.
The tournament was held in the newer, larger George Cella Gym in Bloomfield High School and included wrestle-backs to fifth place and ultimate champions decided in each weight class.
“Bloomfield has a rich history in the sport of wrestling,” said Bengals Wrestling Head Coach Ryan Smircich. “Organizing a tournament of this size and importance is made so much easier by the support of Bloomfield’s School Administration and hard work of our Bengal Wrestling Booster Club.”
The boys version of the Bloomfield Holiday Wrestling Tournament, which ran for more than 50 years, was discontinued three years ago. There was no better way to revitalize this event than in an all-girls format.
“We are proud to provide this opportunity for girls wrestling,” Smircich added. “As a team, and as the Bloomfield community, we wish them luck.”
Championship Match Results:
105 lbs: Sydney Petzinger of Parsippany defeated Alisa Safforld of Belleville by decision.
118 lbs: Isabel Saire of Rahway defeated Daniela Tacuri Andrade of West Orange by pin.
127 lbs: Haley Perez of DePaul defeated Abigail Wittig of Newton by pin.
136 lbs: Hailey Budney of Parsippany defeated Natalie Vega of Elmwood Park by pin.
161 lbs: Jewel Gonzalez of Phillipsburg defeated Amanda Pace of North Bergen by pin.
185 lbs: Erin Emery of Teaneck defeated Jeymarie Reyes of Belleville by pin.
225 lbs: Sandra Guerrero of West Orange defeated Elin Santos of Bergenfield by pin.