BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Sam Fusaro, the veteran Bloomfield High School wrestling coach, always tells his kids that if they work as hard as possible in practice, good results will follow.
This winter, that was the case for several seniors on the Bengal mat squad. Adam Lutick at 220 pounds, David Broderick at 195 pounds, Barak Pipkins at 170 pounds and Angel Mercado at 113 pounds, all placed in District competition at Phillipsburg. Lutick went on to the finish fourth in the Regions at West Orange, and vied in the state tournament in Atlantic City for the second year in a row. Lutick, who had a strong second place finish in the Essex County Tournament in January at Codey Arena, went 1-2 in the states to wrap up a superb varsity career.
“I’m very happy with the season that all four of these guys had,” said Fusaro, whose team finished 11-15 after a lackluster 3-9 start. “Adam, in particular, really had a great year. It was a true pleasure to coach a kid like that. He was truly dedicated to the sport, and he might go on to vie in college at Penn State.”
Lutick, who was a pretty good tackle for the Bengal football team, got off to a very strong start for the 2016-17 campaign.
In the Mount Olive Tournament in mid-December, Lutick won the title at 220, winning by a 4-0 decision over his foe from Middletown North. Later in the month, the determined youngster earned a second place finish at the Roselle Park Tournament.
At the Essex County Tournament in January, Fusaro thought that Lutick had a great chance to win the title. But in the finals, he bowed to Montclair’s Sam Mellow by a 5-2 count.
“I thought that match could have gone either way,” reflected Fusaro, a graduate of Belleville High. “That day, the Montclair kid just was a bit better than Adam.”
Lutick, a very strong kid, was fearless on the mats, according to his coach. He relished the chance to go one-on-one against quality competition.
“From the start of his varsity career, Adam was always a tremendous competitor,” remarked Fusaro. “I can’t say enough about the job he did for us, day after day. I think his final record this year was something like 32-9, and that’s not too bad. He was good as a junior, but he got even better as a senior.”
Broderick wrestled in one of the tougher weight classes in the county. But he showed his determination with a third place finish in the Districts.
Pipkins, competing at 170, won the District title at Phillipsburg, a true mecca for high school wrestling in the Garden State. He went on to place fifth in the Regions, just missing out on a chance to compete in the state event.
“Like Adam, he was a great competitor,” said Fusaro. “Heck, 170 was the toughest weight class in the county this year.” Seton Hall Prep’s Aidan Monteverdi placed fourth in the state.
Mercado was a youngster who kept on getting better and better as the season progressed. He capped off his senior year with a strong second place finish in the Districts.
“On a team basis, I guess the highlight for us was a win over a quality Verona squad,” said Fusaro. “But I’ll admit that the year was a bit frustrating. We’re used to better results than we did in 2017. Our younger guys are just going to have to improve for the 2017-18 season. They know we have a pretty good tradition in the sport at our school.”
MAT NOTES – Seton Hall Prep (25-2) was the best team the Bengals faced. They dominated in the ECT… Monteverdi was named the Outstanding Wrestler in the County Tournament…
On the All-Super Essex Conference-American Division, Lutick made First Team, Mercado and Pipkins made Second Team, and Broderick and Liam Johnson made Honorable Mention.