NUTLEY – Robert Duxbury and Joe DiPasquale won titles in their respective weight classes to lead the Nutley High School varsity wrestling team to a third-place overall finish at the Essex County Tournament, Jan. 21-22, at Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange.
Duxbury, a senior, won the 138-pound title, while DiPasquale, a junior, won the 145-pound crown. It marked Duxbury’s third county title. He won the 106 title in 2014 and won the 132 title last year.
Senior John Zarro took second at 160 for NHS. Taking third for the Raiders were sophomore Frank DeMaio at 145, senior Darwin Pena at 132 and junior Sabino Coppola at 220.
Freshman Domonic Cofone took fifth at 106; junior Justin Bivona took sixth at 182; senior Louis Long took seventh at 170; and sophomore Frank Gabrielle and senior Saul Abreu each took eighth at 126 and 195, respectively.
The Raiders had 161 team points. Seton Hall Prep won the team title with 177 points for its second county title in three years. Caldwell was second with 172.5 points, Cedar Grove was fourth with 137 and Verona was fifth with 112 among the 21 scoring teams.
NHS first-year head coach Mike DiPiano was proud of his team’s efforts.
“It was a good two days of wrestling,” DiPiano said. “We are not happy with our finish. We feel we left team points on the mat, but this will get us ready for sectionals and districts.”
DiPiano particularly praised Duxbury and DiPasquale for winning their titles.
“Duxbury winning a third county title puts him in a very special group,” DiPiano said. “He works extremely hard, and this is only one of his goals. He is really looking forward to districts and regions. He wants to win both and medal down at states, and I have all the confidence that he can do just that.
“DiPasquale put together a very nice county tournament, winning five matches along the way. To be able to stay calm and composed in the final after trailing by a few points and come back and win really shows his maturity as a wrestler. I’m proud of his effort this weekend!”
138: Duxbury, No. 2 seed, decisioned Gerald Jones, Caldwell, No. 1 seed, 8-3
145: DiPasquale, No. 1 seed, decisioned Joseph McCarthy, Cedar Grove, No. 2 seed, 7-4
160: T.J. Calas, Seton Hall Prep, No. 1 seed, decisioned Zarro, No. 3 seed, 4-1
132: DeMaio won by forfeit over Nick Fierro, Verona
152: Pena major decisioned Dean Caravela, Caldwell, 8-0
220: Coppola pinned John Nardiello, Cedar Grove, 6:10 (OT)
106: Cofone major decisioned Matt Driggs, Caldwell, 14-5.
182: Danny Caivano, Millburn, decisioned Bivona, 6-1.
126: Clearson Xavier, Irvington, pinned Gabrielle, 1:36.
170: Long pinned Tyrel Edward, Orange, 5:12.
195: Emanuel Jackson, Columbia, decisioned Abreu, 5-2.