The inaugural NJSIAA regional wrestling tournament, for females, at Red Bank Regional on Feb. 17, produced a lot of tremendous performances and the indication that girls wrestling is here for good.
Bloomfield High had an excellent day, as the Bengals sent four wrestlers to Red Bank, a beautiful facility in Monmouth County, and in front of a large crowd, the Bengals had a combined 8-8 record against the best wrestlers in Northern New Jersey.
Bloomfield coach Ryan Smircich was very pleased with his wrestlers’ performances, as well as the entire event. It was Smircich, along with assistant coach Jason Galioto, who had put together a tremendous holiday tournament for girls wrestling six weeks ago. This is the first year that the NJSIAA has sanctioned high school wrestling in New Jersey. The top six wrestlers in each weight class, from the North and the South regions will head to Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City, for the state finals, from Feb. 28-March 2.
“This is great,” said Smircich during a break in the tournament on Feb. 17. “Look at the turnout and the way these kids are going after something that means a great deal to them. This will only get bigger in the years to come. I’m glad we had four kids here for the first-ever regional tournament. I hope it’s something they’ll always remember.”
While Bloomfield didn’t have a wrestler advance to Atlantic City, the team was well represented. Claire Daity finished 4-2 on the day and Noura Kakadendi was 2-2 and just missed on a berth in the states, finishing fourth in her weight class and earning a medal on the champion’s podium.
Noura Kakadendi (right) earned a medal at the NJSIAA regional tournament. (Click on photo for larger image)
Angelina Faura and her sister, Giana Faura, each won a match at the regions.
The BHS boys wrestlers did very well at the District 9 championships on Feb. 16, at Nutley High. The Bengals advanced seven to the Region 3 tournament, at West Orange High, which began on Feb. 20, continued on Feb. 22 and concluded on Feb. 23.
Kevin Adorno won a district title at 145 pounds for Bloomfield, as he defeated Nicholas Anderson of North Bergen, 4-0, in the title bout. Having won the district title, Adorno advanced directly to the Feb. 22 quarterfinal round of the regions.
Bloomfield head coach Ryan Smircich (right) was named District 9’s Coach of the Year last weekend. (Click on photo for larger image)
Bloomfield’s Jeff Diaz (285 pounds), Gerald VanBaelen (113) and Zachary Andruchowitz (182) each advanced to the final of their respective weight class and finished second. Jacob Febo (120), Paul Flores (132) and Javon Whitehead (220) each took third.
Diaz, VanBaelen, Andruchowitz, Febo, Flores and Whitehead were all scheduled to wrestle in the regional preliminaries on Feb. 20, and if they won, would move on to the quarterfinals on Feb. 22 and an assurance of wrestling through Feb. 23. The top four wrestlers in each weight class at Region 3 would punch their ticket to the state wrestling championships, in Atlantic City, from Feb. 28-March 2.
The Bengals finished third in a strong region, as Delbarton won convincingly and Livingston finished second in a nine-team field.
It was also a special day for Smircich, as he was named the District 9 Coach of the Year, by his coaching peers. In his second year as head coach, Smircich led Bloomfield to a team-record 22 victories in the regular season.