Seton Hall Prep wrestling team captures District 13 title

WEST ORANGE, NJ – More records were falling for the Seton Hall Prep wrestling team as the Pirates competed in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association District 13 in Scotch Plains. They captured their first team district title since 2010-11 season.They scored 246.5 points to St. Peter’s Prep 175.5 points. They will be sending 12 wrestlers to the NJSIAA Region 4 Tournament to be held at Union HS on Feb. 22, 24-25. The last time they sent that many wrestlers to the regions was 1970 when they also sent 12 wrestlers. The Pirates had five wrestlers who captured district titles, the most since 2011 when they also had five district champions. This is also the first time in school history that they won the conference title (Super Essex Conference-American Division), Essex County Tournament Title, and District Title.

The following SHP wrestlers were crowned champions in the finals:

106-pound freshman Larry Melchionda pinned John Ojeda (Linden)-3:18.

138 -pound senior Jake Smith decisioned Phillip Angelo (Summit)-3-1 Sudden Victory.

152-pound senior TJ Calas medical forfeit over Nicholas Palazzolo (Scotch Plains).

170-pound senior Aidan Monteverdi pinned Emilio Cordova (Rahway)-1:29.

220-pound sophomore Jonathan Alvarado pinned Azir Lawson (Elizabeth)-3:36.

It was Melchionda’s and Smith’s first district title, Alvarado’s second title, Calas’ third title, and Monteverdi’s fourth district title. Monteverdi became only the fourth wrestler in school history to capture four district titles. The others were Tom Eidel, Brenden Calas, and Lou Mascola.

The SHP runners-ups in the finals were:

126-pound junior Charlie Cunningham lost 5-2 to Rhise Royster (Rahway).

160-pound junior Danny Young was pinned in 4:56 by James Cruz (Scotch Plains).

285-pound sophomore Niko Diakides was pinned in :19 by Danny Petrela (Summit).

The SHP third-place finishers were 120-pound junior Maguire Pecci, 132-pound freshman Michael Massa, 145-pound freshman Alex Garcia and 182-pound freshman Zach Merlino.

After receiving the District 13 Trophy, SHP head coach Jack Decker said, “I’m proud of what the team has accomplished this year, winning the conference, county, and district titles for the first time in school history. We had guys working really hard in the off-season and continue to improve during this season. The future is bright for our program and I’m excited to see what our kids can do in the regions and state finals in Atlantic City over the next two weeks.”