It’s become a tradition.
The Region 4 seeding meeting at West Orange High brings the usual committee of coaches together for a morning/mid-afternoon of arguing, laughing and, ultimately, deciding the seeds for the upcoming wrestling tournament.
The committee regulars include Nutley coach Frank DiPiano, Passaic Valley’s Joe Benvenuti, Mike Settembrino of Becton, North Bergen’s Jerry Maietta and the legendary (Uncle) Eddie Roselle from St. Peter’s Prep. While Uncle Eddie is the assistant coach, he’s THE MAN, in these meetings and his arrival was greeted with a thunderous ovation.
Roselle’s sense of humor is classic. In 2010, as Frank Cagnina of Queen of Peace was en route to winning a third state championship and breaking Mike Grey’s state win record, Roselle, in a serious tone, looked up at the board, saw Cagnina seeded first and said ‘Why Cagnina’? (as the top seed).
The only question this year is which wrestler will get the ‘Why Cagnina’ vote from Uncle Eddie.
So, it’s about 9:15 a.m. on Feb. 24, and the meeting has its usual disarray of organization, but it’s all good. Anthony Verdi, the head coach at St. Peter’s, sends a text, asking if Uncle Eddie is behaving. He also said he hopes the meeting will be over in five hours.
Good luck with that, I said.
The over-under of when this meeting will conclude is anyone’s guess. I’m saying 3:30 p.m. would be ideal. If West Orange coach Stefan Zichella starts ordering pizza around noon, then the meeting still has plenty of time left.
For the avid high school wrestling fan, these are the best two weeks of the season, with the regions this week and the NJSIAA championships on March 7-9 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
It’s a Bruce Moran kind of setting, for sure. Stay tuned.