Cranford Wrestlers Dominate in Invitational Tournament

Cranford wrestling achieved second place out of 35 teams.

The following information was provided by Cranford Wrestling.

The Cougar Varsity squad traveled to Raleigh North Carolina over the weekend and wrestled in the 42 annual WRAL Invitational Tournament.

Only 12 of Cranford's 14 wrestlers in the 14 weigh classes were entered and managed to make an impact and finish in second place out of the 35 teams participating. 

Upon arriving Thursday night the team was given permission to run their own practice at the UNC Chapel Hill Olympic Training wrestling room. That opportunity alone was a great experience for any High School wrestler. It was a great opportunity to utilize such a facility and show these high school athletes what possibilities may lie ahead of them if they choose to take this sport to the next level. Because the southern season starts so early a lot of the wrestlers had close to 26 matches to our 4 or 5 which left most Cranford wrestlers unseedable.

At the seeding meeting no coaches wanted to hear about our accolades and all agreed that the seeds were fair. It wasn't until the tournament started and the top seeds were being thumped in the pre-quarters by our boys that coaches and wrestlers began to complain. But the Cougars marched on and a buzz began to circulate throughout the bleachers that the boys from New Jersey were tough, in shape and wrestled very physical. There were no many fans cheering for our boys in the championship rounds but in the end the coaches and parents alike from other teams were not hesitant to congratulate us and let us know that we have some really tough boys. Any of our three champs could have been crowned Outstanding Wrestler but we all knew that it would be a long shot that any of these coaches were going to let that trophy go home on a bus to NJ.

The following wrestlers placed for the Cougars:

At 106 Freshman Anthony Capece lost a tough match in the semis but wrestled back and dominated his third place match 20-11 

At 113 Freshman Tom DiGiovanni knocked off the top seed early and went on to decimate the remainder of his bracket taking home the championship with a 1-0 exciting victory 

At 120 Freshman Chris Scorese pinned his way to the finals where he won an exciting match against a hometown "favorite" 9-6 

At 138 Junior Gavin Murray knocked off a two state placers on his way to capturing the championship 8-0 

At 145 Sophomore Andrew Tompkins wrestled tough, winning one match in overtime and bleeding his way to a respectable 6th place 

At 152 Senior Corey Birch wrestled his way to a respectable fifth place putting a punishing victory on his last opponent (9-1) 

At 160 Sophomore Niko Cappello lost a tough match in the semis and then wrestled back to a third place not giving up a single point in his final match 5-0 All Cranford wrestlers wrestled well, and represented Cranford NJ as gentlemen and classy competitive student athletes.

"I am very proud of all of them and we are all thankful for those of you that support us and participated in the Cougar Wrestling Golf Outing," Coach Patrick Gorman said. "Those funds allowed us to pay for the bus and the rooms making this trip possible and making an experience for the boys as unforgettable as you can imagine."


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