When the smoke cleared after last week’s Bergen County wrestling tournament, the Lyndhurst/North Arlington co-op team saw its best results in years.
The Golden Bears finished with 54 points, 17th out of the 40 teams at the annual Bergen County Coaches Association Holiday Tournament.
The Lyndhurst/North Arlington squad had two wrestlers medal: junior Derin Stitzer and junior Victor Jorge at 152 and 160 pounds, respectively, as both claimed fifth place.
Lyndhurst/North Arlington coach Joe Collins felt the team succeeded.
“I was very happy,” said Collins. “Last year we all went home after the first day. This year we had two wrestlers in the top eight and we had seven wins in the preliminaries and four wins at least one more match after that.”
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Many of the Lyndhurst/North Arlington wrestlers were not seeded so getting at least one win will help later this season.
“Many of these guys had no seeding criteria so this was a good experience for them,” said Collins.
With the county tournament in the rearview mirror, Collins has set goals for the: “We want to win the close duals, qualify for state, advance as many as we can through individual districts and regions,” said Collins.
Stitzer bounced back from a major decision at the hands of Fair Lawn’s Gabe Perez in an 18-8 verdict to grab fifth place. “He wrestles with high intensity,” Collins said of Stitzer, who was 17-12 last season.
And like Stitzer, Jorge bounced back to grab fifth. Jorge was pinned by Tommy Chiellini of Pascack Valley just before the end of the second period.
“Victor is methodical and always in the match,” Collins said of Jorge, who was 19-12 last season. “He goes 100 percent for a full six or eight minutes and can really grind out the close matches to end them in his favor.”
Jorge and Stitzer had the best success last season as they both finished third in the state districts. They were also named to the All-NJIC Division 1 second team.
“Victor and Derin are our two guys who made it to regions last year,” said Collins.”Their goal is definitely to advance further this year.”
Along with Jorge and Stitzer, senior Tyler Partyka was named second-team all-division at heavyweight after going 10-12. “When Tyler is healthy and in shape he is an asset to our team at heavyweight,” said Collins.
Sophomore Elias Sanchez started the day out right Dec. 28 at the county meet at 106 with a victory over NV/Old Tappan’s Gabe Hoffman before losing to Nick Babin of Emerson/Park Ridge. And then freshmen Grayson Jurado pinned Sayd Fortuna of Wood-Ridge in the opening round at 113 before being pinned by Fair Lawn’s Dylan Cedeno.
Sophomore Jarrett Weber defeated Matt Lewis of Mahwah before falling to Northern Highlands’ Nicolas Pinni at 126.
At 170, senior Jordan DeAbreu defeated Lodi’s Anthony Asencio before being pinned by Emerson/Park Ridge’s Evan Kinsey in the next round. DeAbreu was 16-9 last season.
At 182, senior Nick Fernandez defeated Rex Fukuda of Bogota/Weehawken only to lose to Elmwood Park’s Devin Trujillo in the next round. Fernandez was 16-12 in the 2016-17 season. The other senior on the roster is Ethan Hughes at 145.
Along with Stitzer, Jorge and DeAbreu, Weber could have the best shot to make the state regions. Weber was 11-6 last season.
The co-op program has three wrestlers from North Arlington: Sanchez, Fernandez and sophomore Alvaro Gongora (195).
In terms of the NJIC Division 1, the closing of Queen of Peace high school opens up the division and the Golden Bears will probably need to defeat the new favorite, Garfield, on Friday.
Lyndhurst/North Arlington schedule
(Matches at 7 p.m. unless noted)
Jan. 3 Waldwick/Midland Park, 6 p.m.
Jan. 5 at Garfield
Jan. 6 at Elizabeth, 9 a.m.
Jan. 10 at Manchester
Jan. 12 Lodi, 6 p.m.
Jan. 13 Livingston, at Kearny, 10 a.m.
Jan. 17 Belleville, 6 pm.
Jan. 20 at Becton, 10 a.m.
Jan. 27 Bayonne, Brearley, Union, 10 a.m.
Jan. 31 at Secaucus, 6 p.m.
Feb. 2 at Montclair
Feb. 3 at Nutley, 10 a.m.
Feb. 7 Salanter Akiba Academy at North Arlington
Feb. 10 Wayne Valley at River Dell, 10 a.m.
Feb. 17 State Individual Districts at Phillipsburg
Feb. 21, 23, 24 State regions at West Orange
March 2 State finals, Atlantic City
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