WEST ORANGE – The West Orange High School varsity wrestling team is young this season, which makes what the Mountaineers did last week so impressive.
“Coming into the year, we didn’t have high expectations because we are so young, but last week it all seemed to come together,” said head coach Stephan Zichella, whose group improved its record to 4-3 after winning four of five matches last week. “We had a lot of kids going through injuries early on, but since then, we’ve healed, we’ve improved and things have been going well.”
In earning a 4-1 record last week, the West Orange coach said his Mountaineers went 2-1 in three Super Essex Conference matches during the recent stretch.
On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Zichella said his team’s week was highlighted with an exciting win over a strong Bloomfield program.
“We were down by nine but we managed to come back for a big win,” said Zichella, who talked about the individual performance out of Andrew Roberts. “Andrew had a huge win for us against Bloomfield and he actually had a big weekend in general as he also had a big win for us on Saturday.”
Another wrestler who has been having a nice year for WOHS, has been Victor Lopez, who won the county tournament title and now has a record of 19-1.
“Victor has been having a huge year for us,” he said.
Similarly, Zichella said Sebastian Rawls at 170 has also been having a strong year with a current record of 14-5, as has Noah Tandy, who is 13-6 at 195.
Two other wrestlers who the coach mentioned were Andrei Rosu and Abraham Dada.
“Rosu, our junior captain, was out, but just got back to the lineup and that’s been big for us as he went 3-1 this week alone,” said the coach, who then talked about Dada. “Abraham has been real hot. He has a motor and he never stops wrestling.”
Looking ahead, the team will remain busy with a handful of matches on deck. The team was slated to face Cedar Grove on Tuesday, Feb. 2, and Newbury on Wednesday, Feb. 3, and will then host Seton Hall Prep on Friday, Feb. 5, before having a quad match against Becton and Orange on Saturday.
“Right now, we’re just focused on finishing strong and on a high note and we are doing a lot of good things,” Zichella said.