WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange Wrestling team captured the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 1, Group 5 sectional title at home on Friday in a hard-fought final against Passaic Tech, 33-26.
This was the Mountaineer’s second sectional in 56 years, having won their first championship in 2012.
“This year, we knew going in that Passaic Tech was the favorite in our state section,” said head coach Stephan Zichella. “Shockingly, Passaic Tech was the fourth seed at the state cut off and we were the second seed. With victories against Hackensack in the quarterfinals and Livingston, who was the No. 3 seed in the semifinals, we earned our first trip to the state sectional finals since 2012.”
Zichella explained that Passaic Tech knocked off North Bergen on the other side of their bracket, giving the Mountaineer a very beneficial home-court advantage for the final.
“We lost the toss at the beginning of the match, giving Passaic Tech the advantage on match-ups,” said Zihella. “We knew it was going to be a challenge to split and win seven bouts, but our kids battled valiantly.”
The Mountaineers will face Howell in the Group 5 semifinal at Hackensack Meriden Health Arena in Toms River on Feb. 11. The winner of that game will advance to the final beginning at 2 p.m.
See all the photos here, courtesy of Buzz1441.