The last few days have been a flurry of matches for the Verona High School wrestling, with individual events against Belleville and Millburn, and a quad in Union, that pitted the Hillbillies against Union, Madison, and Parsippany Hills high school. Along the way, there have been some stand-out matches for heavyweight Joe Festa, recently recognized as a Senior Athlete of the Week by the Verona Sports Boosters, fellow senior Tom Cundari and junior Joe Cordasco.
Belleville was the heavy favorite going into the Belleville match on January 11, which was a fundraiser to honor that school’s long-time wrestling coach Jim Silvestri. The Blue and Gold dominated Verona, 45-30, but that wasn’t the whole story. There were quick pins by Festa, Cundari and Cordasco, and sophomore Paul Scully pinned his opponent in 2:43. The other highlight of the event was the match between Verona’s Bobby Hildebrandt and Belleville’s Ricky Gencarelli. The match went into overtime, with Hildebrandt, wrestling at 120, eventually coming out on the short end of a 7-5 decision.
Verona took on Millburn on January 13, and came away with a 39-36 win. Cundari and Scully both got pins, as did Nick Esposito. Senior Franco Camerota won 9-4 over Kevin Hernandez.
The Hillbillies were back on the mats on January 14 for the Union quad. They took away a 45-21 win over Union, a 40-31 defeat by Parsippany Hills, and a narrow one-point loss to Madison, 42-41. In the Union match, there were pins for Esposito, Scully, Hildebrandt, Cundari and Cordasco, as well as for freshman Joe Ballantyne, who defeated Ibrahim Elbanna in 1:24. The Union match-up also saw a first victory for Kyle Rosenberg, a senior walk-on and last week’s Senior Athlete of the Week, junior Frankie Greco’s 8-0 defeat of Brian Homere and a 6-0 victory for Festa over Joey Cocchiarello.
Esposito and Scully doubled up with pins against Madison, as did Cundari, Cordasco, Greco and Festa. Hildebrandt had a decisive 16-1 victory.
Hildebrandt was similarly strong against Parsippany Hills, with a 15-3 decision over Aric Imhoff. Esposito, Cundari and Scully had their third victories of the day, with Esposito pinning Jeel Patel in 1:30, Cundari pinning Rob Vasquez in 1:23 and Scully defeating Robert Fornini 4-3. There was a rare defeat for Cordasco, an 8-6 loss to Michael Weiss, but Greco pulled out a pin of Nicholas D’Uva at 2:30 and Festa similarly conquered Joji Yoshino in 1:43.
Verona, which is 4-4 on the season, travels to Newark Academy on Thursday, January 19 for a 5 p.m. match.
Photos by Sherre Festa. Used by permission.