WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange High School Wrestling team is wrapping up their season this weekend in the 2013 NJSIAA State Championship Tournament this weekend.
West Orange is sending two of their wrestlers to the State Tournament in Atlantic City this year, only the third time in the program's history this has happened. Representing the Mountaineers in the tournament are seniors Nathanael Louis (30-8) and George Luis Terrero (14-1). Terrero joined the team midway through the season on Feb. 1, and emerged as one of the team's most impressive wrestlers.
"Just getting to the State Tournament is a great accomplishment in itself," Head Wrestling Coach Stephen Zichella said. "If they can win a couple of matches that would be great, and ultimately if they can medal that would be fantastic."
The wrestling team finished their regular season with a final record of 12-8 to go along with their impressive tournament play. The Mountaineers placed fourth in the Essex County Wrestling Tournament, first in the Joey D'Augustine Memorial Tournament and third in the District Tournament.
West Orange walked away from the District tournament with four champions, one of whom was Terrero. The other three champs were junior Jordan Velez (32-7), junior Antonio Penna (19-12) and sophomore Christopher Morgan (30-9).
"Placing third in Districts and outscoring Caldwell, who placed higher than us in Counties, while coming within five and a half points of West Essex and Passaic Valley was a great accomplishment," Zichella said. The Mountaineers' four champions were the most by any team at the District Tournament.
In the Regional Tournament this past weekend, West Orange saw seven of its wrestlers in the quarterfinals, and they had five advance to the semifinals which was a program best. Terrero and Louis were the only two to advance to the State Tournament.
For the first time the Mountaineers had four wrestlers who had at least 30 wins on the season. Those wrestlers were Louis, Morgan, Velez and senior Joseph Bibbo. "Having four 30 match-winners in a season is quite impressive and they all had great seasons for us," Zichella said.
Zichella also attributed some of the team’s success to the hard work and improvements of sophomore Isaiah Adams (21-15) and junior McDerby Ceneus (14-15).
"I think the bond that wrestlers have with one another gives us strong chemistry, and that helps us to endure the many challenges that a wrestling season has," Zichella said. "Every wrestler has his highs and lows in a season, but I think the difference this season was that we had many more highs than lows."
The NJSIAA State Championships will be held this weekend, March 8-10, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.