Wrestling puts their name into history books


Photo courtesy of Josh Sanchez

By Josie Berger, Sports Editor

History was made on Feb. 10, as the West Essex wrestling team won their first ever group state championship. They accomplished this victory with a 40-33 win over Delsea in the NJSIAA/ Rothman Orthopedics Group 3 championship match. This capped off a 19-match win streak that the Knights had to end their season with a record of 22-4.

This was not the only championship the Knights won this season. Two days prior, they won the NJSIAA North 2 Group 3 sectional title with a win over Mendham 36-27. In that match, big wins came at 182 and 120, where junior Sam Carsillo pinned at 182, and sophomore Carson Barry picked up a 6-4 decision victory in overtime to clinch the win and qualify the team for the Group 3 tournament.

In the semi finals round of the Group 3 tournament, West Essex defeated Ocean Township 39-16. In that match, senior captain Mike Ruane captured his 100th career win with a 11-8 decision in the final bout of the match. This win would advance West Essex to the final, where they were pitted against South Jersey’s Delsea.

 The 40-33 win over Delsea was made possible with wins from senior Peter Kenny, senior captain Luke Dignazio, junior Bardhyl Gashi and freshman Mike Pescatore. Pescatore was seconds away from getting pinned in the first period of the 106 bout, but came back in the second period to see the fall and turn the energy back to West Essex’s favor.

Throughout this whole tournament, the team showed that they go out there and each individual does their job for not only them, but their teammates.

“Work ethic that the coaches teach us and looking around the room and seeing everyone else work makes me wanna work,” senior captain Jon Bartley said .

“The truth is that these guys are a very tight group” Coach Mike Markey said following the win in an interview with Jersey Sports Zone. “They love each other, they practice hard for each other, they are everything I could ever ask for in a team and they showed they can go out there and earn it, and they definitely earned it.”

At the end their win, senior Drew Donohue said in a NJ.com article that this championship run proved that: “We’re West Essex, and we’re tougher than you.”