CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Earlier in the season Dominic Tafuri successfully defended his title to become a two-time Essex County wrestling champion.  Then this past weekend, Tafuri earned his 100th career win becoming only the sixth wrestler in Cedar Grove High School history to do so. Tafuri is the Allstate Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week.  The Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley, Allstate Insurance Agent, 471 Pompton Ave., Cedar Grove. 

“Dom is consistently the hardest working kid I ever coached.  He won his 100th varsity match this past weekend while recording three pins in three matches.  He is the ultimate competitor,” said Head Coach Rami Ratel. “He will be missed next year. He is irreplaceable.  In the 16 years I’ve been coaching, I have never seen a kid put in as much time to his craft as Dom. I’m confident Dom’s best wrestling for this season is still ahead of us.”

It was at the Annual Dan Gray Tournament in Bloomfield where Tafuri made history.  He had 98 wins going into the tournament and reached his 100th milestone with the second match.  

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“It felt pretty good to get that win. That second match was supposed to be a forfeit, but my coach talked to their coach, and he bumped someone up to wrestle me.  That was really nice of him,” Tafuri noted.  

Wrestling at both the 106 and 113 weight classes this season, Tafuri feels the lower weight is where his best chance at success lies, and where he chose to wrestle for the Essex County Tournament, successfully defending his title.

"I wanted to win again and be a two-time champion -- 106 is where I feel I have the best shot at placing and going to states, so at the Essex County Tournament I wanted to see how it felt to wrestle at that weight two days in a row,” Tafuri said.  “It went well so for the most important matches that’s where I’ll be. When I wrestle at 113 I get to eat a little more, so that’s nice.”

Sidelined by an injury for part of the season last year, Tafuri is thrilled with the way his senior season is going.  

“Last year I had the injury that set me back, so my focus this year was on not getting hurt, on taking care of my body and avoiding injury.  It worked and this season is much better than last year -- probably my best season ever,” Tafuri said.

Despite Tafuri’s success, the young CGHS wrestling team hasn’t had a winning season, but Tafuri is confident in the team’s potential.

“Our record doesn’t really show the strength and potential of our team.  We have a lot of new guys. It’s a young team, but those new guys are starting to pick up the moves and learn how wrestling works and I think a lot of them have a bright future,” Tafuri said.  

Looking ahead, Tafuri has one goal in mind and when asked what it is, he is quick to answer.

“To go to AC and to get on the podium,” he said.  “I want to stay focused. I have my whole life to look back at what I’ve accomplished, but I’ve only got one chance to make the goals I’ve set for myself happen.”

The Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley Allstate, 471 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove. 

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