White, Jacome and Alex Pigna Repeat As NJ Place Winners
Nikash Patel Places 7th In State Tournament Debut
The 2017 New Jersey Youth Wrestling State Championship Tournament was held on March 11 and 12 at the expansive Sun National Bank Arena in Trenton. The tournament is the pinnacle of New Jersey Youth Wrestling, where qualifying is an achievement onto itself. The tournament divisions are categorized by age and weight. The brackets can include up to 24 wrestlers all competing for the title: State Champion. They battle head-to-head and earn places 1 through 8 on the podium. The wrestlers compete as thousands of enthusiastic NJ wrestling fans cheer and look on.
Fifth grader Nicholas Campagna chopped his way through the 90 lb "Novice" Division where he sustained a match halting head injury in the semi-finals. In spite of being thrown head first into the mat the South Plainfield grappler showed tremendous heart and never gave up. The referee questioned his stability, but the 11 year old insisted on finishing the match without further injury time. His persistence paid off. He won the battle and a ticket to the finals where he faced Pohatcong's Calub Rivera. The relentless Campagna was in control of the match from the onset in spite of the tremendous efforts of his opponent. He secured a convincing 5-1 First Place finish. This was the second time Nicholas has won the NJ State Championship. He has also place 8th and 7th his first two years respectively.
Campagna was well supported by his SP Wrestling family but discovered his greatest celebration was jumping into the arms of his older brother and training partner Jack. The motivated Tiger has overcome some difficult obstacles over the past two years with the help of supportive coaches and caring family and friends.
Alex “Mouch” Pigna, slashed his way through a stacked 50 lb Novice Bracket where he met some tenacious competition. He fell short in the semi-finals but showed conviction and character wrestling back and he bested Anthony Mason of Elite Wrestling Club for an impressive 3rd Place finish. Pigna has earned his place on the podium for four consecutive years. After placing 6th his very first year competing in Trenton, he has advanced to the semifinal round three years in a row capturing 3rd in 2015, 4th place in 2016, and finishing in 3rd Place at 50 lb in 2017. Pigna also competes nationally and finished the SP Recreation season as a League Champ, pinning his way to the top. He is a young fourth grader and has a bright future as a South Plainfield Wrestler. Lets Go Mouch!
Seventh grader, Jeffrey Jacome, faced a seemingly impossible bracket in the 70lb Junior Division on his way to an 8th place finish at this year’s NJ Youth State Wrestling Championship. Jacome met 2016 State Champ Tyler Vasquez of Scorpions in the quarter finals and managed to frustrate the #1 seed who only held a 2-0 lead over Jeffrey the entire match. With just 20 seconds left Vazquez reversed Jacome to win 4-0. It was one of the best matches Jeffrey has wrestled in his youth career. His opponent had previously defeated him by much wider margins. Jacome who is arguably one of the hardest working kids in the room keeps closing the gap against his opponents who were once better than him. He is clearly coming into his own and stands equal with NJ's top wrestlers. Jeffrey is an accomplished Middle School Wrestler and competes nationally. He is quick and aggressive on the mat and refuses to quit. Jeffrey has previously placed 2nd, 4th and 7th in The NJ State Wrestling Tournament.
Anthony White is one of the most talented wrestlers to come out of the SP Recreation and Middle School Programs. He has a tireless work ethic and a clearly defined goal; To be a Champion. White wrestled this past Saturday in the 98lb Intermediate Division. This Division boasted some of the best grapplers in the state, if not the USA. Anthony met his long time rival and training partner Patrick Adams in the semi-final round and lost 5-1. He eventually took 4th place in an extremely close match against Buxton's Danny Wask. White is a 2X NJ State Champion and has seen the podium nearly every year of his youth wrestling career. We wish him the best of luck in high school.
Nikash Patel was a first time qualifier in Trenton this weekend. He didn't seem intimidated by the massive venue but dropped an early bout in the competition. The loss seemed to motivate the young Tiger who showed tremendous spirit as his parents looked on. The third grader has taken a liking to the sport and has found a home in the SP Wrestling Program. The 65 lb Bantam wrestled back to capture 7th place in a hard fought victory over Newton's Braydan Lombreglia. His teammates and coaches could not have been more excited for him.
The following SP wrestlers qualified and also competed in the NJ State Tournament: Tyler Balent, Danny Borsos, Aldo Pigna and 7 year old Alexander Teal who was a first time qualifier. Each of these athletes had the courage and will to put it all on the line and represented SP with trademark sportsmanship. Several other Tigers made attempts at qualifying but came up short this year.
Thank you and congratulation to the wrestlers, parents, coaches and members of the SPWC for their support and dedication to the program.