Belleville HS wrestler Hakim Fennell wins ECT title

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Hakim Fennell, a senior, won the 170-pound weight class to lead the Belleville High School wrestling team at the 45th Essex County Tournament at Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange Jan. 16-17.

Fennell, the No. 4 seed, won by a 5-4 decision over Livingston’s Stratos Kantanas, the No. 2 seed, in the final. In the semifinals, Fennell upset No. 1 seed Zachary Merlino of Seton Hall Prep with a pin in 1:45.

David Guerra, the No. 1 seed, also reached the 145-pound final for the Bucs. The senior dropped a tough 6-4 overtime decision to Seton Hall Prep’s Cole Carroll, the No. 2 seed, to finish in second place.

Josh Dabon and fellow senior David Peterkin each took third place for Belleville. In the third-place consolations, Dabon, the No. 5 seed, pinned Newark Academy’s Seth Levin, the No. 4 seed, in 3:23 at the 126-pound class and Peterkin, the No. 5 seed, decisioned West Orange’s Kevon Atkins, the No. 6 seed, by a 1-0 score in the 285-pound heavyweight class.

Brandon Costello and fellow senior Jostin Gomez each finished in eighth place for the Bucs. In the seventh-place consolations, Costello was pinned by Daniel Neil of West Orange in 16 seconds and Gomez lost by pin against Orange’s Tashon May in 5:04.

The Bucs overall finished in eighth place in the team standings. Seton Hall Prep won the team title for the fifth straight season.

Team standings: 1. Seton Hall Prep, 259.5 points. 2. West Essex, 227. 3. Livingston, 146. 4. Nutley, 131. 5 tie. Caldwell, 106. West Orange, 106. 7. Irvington, 99. 8. Belleville, 90. 9. Cedar Grove, 89. 10. Bloomfield, 67. 11. Millburn, 62. 12. Verona, 52.5. 13. Columbia, 49. 14. Newark Academy, 46. 15. Orange, 39. 16. Montclair, 29. 17. Newark Collegiate, 12. 18. Glen Ridge, 11. 19 tie. Barringer, 8. Newark East Side, 8 21. Weequahic, 2.