CEDAR GROVE, NJ - With a smaller roster than in previous seasons, the Cedar Grove wrestling team is tempering their expectations with a focus on education and development in 2020.
“I think as a team we might do better at tournaments where we can have some standouts go far and score some points for the team, but at dual meets it’s going to be challenging for us to fill out 14 weight classes with just 17 guys,” said Head Coach Rami Ratel.
As a number of participants come in brand new to the sport, Ratel is gearing up to teach his newcomers the key aspects of the sport.
“I do see a lot of eagerness to learn and a lot of these new guys are picking it up real quick,” said Ratel.
Despite a good amount of rookies, Ratel is optimistic his veterans can help carry the squad to some victories.
“We have a lot of guys who can win matches for us,” said Ratel.
Dominick Tafuri will be one of the team’s leaders in 2019 as a captain. The 113 pound wrestler was superb last year with a 29-8 record.
Joining Tufari as team captain will be Antonio Cufari. Cufari will move up to the 138 pound class after competing at 120 last season where he was dominant with a 34-8 record.
The third and final captain for Cedar Grove will be Sebastiano LoCascio. The senior heavyweight was solid last season boasting a 20-13 head-to-head record.
“We’re expecting some big things from the three of them,” said Ratel.
Nick Coletta will return to the squad as a big up and comer for the squad, looking to make some noise. Coletta will compete at the 132 weight class after posting a 28-6 record as a mere freshman.
“He had a banner freshman year and hopefully he builds onto that…he was a stud as a freshman,” said Ratel.
Rounding out the team’s expected key supporting cast will be juniors Nick Catalano, William Messinger, and senior Peter Johnson. The trio combined for 30 victories last season for the squad. They will compete anywhere from 138 to the 160 class.
“[They] did a lot of work in the offseason to get better and I expect a lot of good things from those guys,” said Ratel.
As the season draws near the group continues to work on the fundamentals to prepare for the trials and tribulations of a long and grueling season.
“It’s taking the time to learn the moves and have it be second nature. In wrestling that is the stuff that takes time [for newcomers],” said Ratel.
Cedar Grove will open up their season in a tournament on December 21 at Lakeland High School.
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.