Talk about a turnaround. After two sub-.500 wrestling seasons, Garfield is off to a 15-3 start and poised to qualify for the sectionals in North 1, Group 3 for the first time since 2004.
“Knowing the freshmen we had coming in and the work these kids put in in the off-season, we knew we had the makings of a good team,” said coach Jim Dolci. “Two years ago we were forfeiting five weight classes, and last year two or three. It was very disappointing outscoring your opponents on the mats but losing because of the forfeit points.”
Freshmen Josh Ferreira (106 pounds) and Luis Gomez (126) have stepped in to help fill out the lineup and veterans Jordan Robinson (113), Matt Spoto (120) and Tyler Mercadante (182) have improved from last season.
The Boilermakers have big wins over Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge on criteria and Lodi by seven points, but are haunted by a 31-30 loss to NJIC Division 1 rival Becton/Wallington.
They are tied with Sparta for second in North 1, Group 3 in the most recent power-points rankings with 24 points, two behind Paramus (26). The NJSIAA on Monday pushed back the cutoff date for the state sectional tournament from Saturday to a week from today to make up for the matches lost to snow over the weekend and early this week.
“These kids want to be in the room,” Dolci said. “They love the sport. Our goal is to be in the [sectional] final.”
NEW MILFORD REMEMBERS: Wrestling and basketball will join up for a good cause Friday when New Milford holds its annual Mike Pevny Classic to raise money for a scholarship fund in the name of the former assistant wrestling coach.
The girls and boys basketball teams will host Bogota at 5:30 and 7 respectively, while the wrestling team hosts Westwood at 6 p.m. in a nearby gym. This is the 10th anniversary of Pevny’s passing at the age of 34.
The Knights (9-7) are also ranked fifth in North 1, Group 1 in the most recent power-point rankings, putting them in position to make the sectional tournament for the first time since 2001 when Pevny was a coach.