|VIDEO: Emerson/Park Ridge defeats High Point for sectional title|
At the same stage--and against the same team--that had foiled so many Bergen County wrestling squads over the years, Emerson/Park Ridge came through. Now EPR will look to make history.
Emerson/Park Ridge defeated High Point, 44-19, to capture the North 1, Group II sectional title. The top-seeded Cavos won five of the first six bouts, including a couple of close ones, to put themselves in position to take the win.
After High Point closed to within 26-19 with four bouts to go, Gabe Robles secured the win for EPR at 138 pounds with a pin. High Point then forfeited the final two weights to account for the final score.
It's the first sectional title for Emerson/Park Ridge since 2003. Overall, it's the ninth sectional crown for EPR coach Stan Woods, including the era when he coached Emerson before the two schools formed a co-op program.
But in Woods's 49 years, his teams have never won a state title. This Emerson/Park Ridge team appears to have a real shot to change that. Two wins on Sunday in Toms River would also make EPR the first public school team from Bergen County to ever win a team wrestling title since the creation of the tournament 35 years ago.
Jordan Giacomelli also had a pin for Emerson/Park Ridge. Luke Mazzeo and Paco Robles had major decisions, while close wins by Jonah Schectman at 170 pounds and Dominick Petillo at heavyweight also proved crucial.
High Point got a pin from Jared Kobis and a major decision from Maverick Liebl. The Wildcats, who have a history of knocking off teams from Bergen County in the state tournament, finish their season at 13-8.
Emerson/Park Ridge is 21-2. It will face another Sussex County team, Lenape Valley, in the Group II semifinals on Sunday in Toms River. The winner of that match wrestles later in the day in the Group II state final.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school wrestling state team tournament sectional final, click play in the box at left