NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — The West Essex wrestling team remains undefeated following a 66-6 domination of Verona on Monday night.
“I really like the way they competed today,” said Knights head coach Mike Markey. “They were very aggressive.”
In order to challenge themselves against an undermanned Hillbilly squad, the Knights had several wrestlers compete up in a weight class. The team did not disappoint, producing six pins on the evening.
“Pretty much everybody went up a weight today because we wrestled a lot over the weekend,” said Markey. “With that being the case, I was really happy to see how aggressive they are.”
A standout moment of the night occurred at the 160-pound class, where Anthony Lombardi battled back from a 9-2 deficit in the second round to overtake his opponent with a pin-fall victory.
“That is one of the things we talk about is staying patient, never giving up, trying to score points no matter the situation,” said Markey. “[Lombardi] is another one who is just getting better every match, and we’re watching him blossom.”
The tone for West Essex, however, was set from the opening bout onward.
Joey Macrino collected a second-period pin-fall victory with just 55 seconds left in the frame. The freshman continues to make an impact for the Knights, improving to 9-3 on the season after Monday’s match.
“[Macrino] is getting better every day,” his coach said. “We like him a lot; he’s nice to have on the team.”
At the 126-pound class, West Essex followed up Macrino’s performance with another pin-fall victory from junior Jack Ruane, who got back to .500 on the season early in the second period.
As the Knights began to pull away, they gained yet another two pin-fall wins from Darren and Alex Jones. The 145 and 152 pounders are a combined 23-2 on the season, with Alex remaining undefeated at 14-0.
“They are on fire right now,” said Markey. “What you see out there is a lot of experience and a lot of maturity.”
The Knights improve to 9-0 on the season as they continue to produce a magical head-to-head season. Despite producing a record that could potentially go in the history books, the focus remains on growing both as individuals and as a team.
“I’m really interested in the way the guys approach the mat, approach the matches, wrestle all three positions and how they come on and off the mat,” said Markey. “We’ve seen a lot of growth in a short amount of time, and that’s what this is all about right now.”
The Knights will take this victory as they head into the start of the county tournament on Friday.