FAIRFIELD, NJ - The Cedar Grove wrestling team had a successful run on Saturday at the District 7 Championships at West Essex High School, qualifying to send seven wrestlers onto the Regions.
“We practice all year for this…this is the big dance and to put seven guys into the regions we’re real happy,” said Head Coach Derrick Goduto.
The highlight of the evening for the Panthers was at the 132 and 182 pounds class where Anthony Clarizio and Joe McCarthy each collected their fourth consecutive District 7 Titles. The senior duo who started together each locked in first round pin-falls for their respective wins.
“It’s awesome to do it with [Clarizio] we’ve been wrestling all our lives it’s awesome,” said McCarthy.
For Clarizio, the championship win was particularly effortless pinning his opponent in a mere 36 seconds. While he was extremely pleased with the title the victory is merely a stepping stool to his ultimate goal of getting on the podium at Atlantic City.
“I would like to win the Region, but that’s not the goal, the goal is to get down and be on the podium at Atlantic City and just wrestle my best down there,” said Clarizio.
While Clarizio and McCarthy reclaimed their District Titles, Cedar Grove had a newcomer make his mark on the program on Saturday. Freshman Dillon Jennings took second place at the 170 pounds class
“A freshman stepping up and doing a great job,” said Clarizio of his teammate.
Cedar Grove’s two lightweights continued their successful 2018 campaign with third place victories at the 106 and 113 pounds class respectively. Dominic Tafuri and Antonio Cuffari while disappointed to come up short of a District Title will each be moving onto Districts for the Panthers.
“I wanted them both to be in the finals, but for them to bounce back and take third shows their grit,” said Goduto.
Matthew Lay continued Cedar Grove’s solid day with a third place finish at the 145 pounds class. Lay’s pin fall victory was well earned coming with 10 seconds remaining in the second round.
Rounding out Cedar Groves impressive District performance was Sean Dougan who placed third at the heavyweight class of 285 pounds. Dougan battled a deficit into the third round to produce a key takedown and eventual 4-1 victory. This is just Dougan’s first season wrestling.
“[Dougan] came out of a hallway this year, he just started wrestling this year he went 22-10 and now he’s wrestling at Regions it’s awesome,” said Goduto.
All photos by Nick Teodoro.
TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.
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