Overall, it was a good day of wrestling at Region 4 for Essex County-based wrestlers.
Caldwell led the way by advancing three to the championship round. Ultimately, two wrestlers from Essex County won gold at Region 4. John Faugno of Glen Ridge, the second seed at 160 pounds, won a thriller in overtime while West Orange’s Christopher Morgan, the top seed at 182 pounds, also won a title.
Eight wrestlers from Essex County schools in Region 4 will make the trip to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for the NJSIAA championships from March 7-9.
Faugno’s win was particularly impressive. He had a 4-0 lead over top seeded Rory Forys of Becton, but Forys battled back with an escape, stall point and reversal at the buzzer to force overtime.
In the extra session, Faugno recorded a pin with a wild move late in the fourth period when he reached around Forys, at the edge of the mat, caught him with a headlock and locked in for the fall.
“In a position like that, I’m thinking cradle,” Faugno (37-0) said. “I was in a tough position, but saw I could gain position, then rolled through and found an opening.”
Faugno became the first wrestler from Glen Ridge to win a Region 4 title since Nick DePhillips and Robbie Schwalbenberg each took gold in 2009. Faugno will attempt to become the first state medal winner at Glen Ridge since DePhillips placed in Atlantic City in ’09.
Morgan, a junior, won the 182 pound title with a solid win over previously unbeaten Jan Castellanos of Secaucus.
For Caldwell, Dean Caravela (113), Ray Iodice (152) and Joe Bongo (220) all wrestled in the championship round, but fell short. They all qualified for the state tournament on the basis of making the region finals.
Nutley’s Joe Ferinde lost in the 120-pound final while Steve Bonsall of Newark Academy dropped a close match in the 138-pound final. West Orange’s Jordan Velez was defeated in the 145-pound match.
Also of note is North Bergen’s Anthony Giraldo won his fourth straight Region 4 title today. It was the first time a wrestler has won four consecutive championships in the region since Bobby Dabal accomplished the feat, also at North Bergen, from 2005-2008.
Frank Cagnina of Queen of Peace won three straight Region 4 titles and captured four crowns overall, but in his freshman year, he was a Region 2 champion while wrestling at Bergen Catholic before transferring to Queen of Peace in 2008.