Seedings for the 37th Essex County Wrestling Tournament were held on Thursday night at Nutley High.
Among the top seeds in their respective weight classes were Livingston’s Jason Estevez at 132 pounds and Robert Trombetta of Nutley, who was tabbed first at 126 pounds. Both wrestlers will seek a rare accomplishment this weekend as they attempt to win a fourth straight Essex County championship.
Mike Kwapniewski of Caldwell (1988-1991), Marc Lombardy of Millburn (1990-1993), Glen Ridge’s Joe Dubuque and Livingston’s Pat Trabucco (1998-2001), Angelo DiLeo (2002-2005) and Lou Mascola (2008-2011) of Seton Hall Prep and Belleville’s Filiberto Colon (2005-2008) are the only four-time Essex County champions. And only once have a pair of wrestlers accomplished the feat in the same tournament, that coming in 2001 with Dubuque, an eventual two-time state champion and later a two-time NCAA champ and Trabucco, a four-time state medalist, four-time Region 4 and District 14 winner as well.
The other top seeds in the 14 weight classes included two-time state champion Brenden Calas of Seton Hall Prep at 120 pounds, along with Dean Caravela of Caldwell (106), Mike Panzarino of West Essex (113), Caldwell’s Mike Dalla Riva (138), Mike Marotti of West Essex (145), John Faugno of Glen Ridge (152), Nutley’s Brandon Keena (160) and Vinnie Mainiero (182), Kyle Christiansen of Bloomfield (170), Nick Kumburis (195) and Vin Cordasco (220) of Cedar Grove and Columbia heavyweight Rodney Cenat.
Wrestling begins at 6 p.m. on Friday night at Codey Arena in West Orange with pigtail matches, followed by the pre-quarterfinals. The tournament resumes on Saturday at 10 a.m. with the quarterfinals, wrestlebacks, semifinals and ultimately, the 14 championship bouts, which should commence around 3 p.m.
Nutley won its first team title last year and will seek to repeat this weekend behind a balanced lineup. Expect Caldwell, West Essex, Seton Hall Prep and West Orange to be among the contenders for the title in what most coaches feel is a wide open tournament this year.