Wrestlers Start Strong In Holiday Meets

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Mark Riggio was a champion in both tournaments at 182 pounds, and got an award for most pins in the least amount of time.
Mark Riggio was a champion in both tournaments at 182 pounds, and got an award for most pins in the least amount of time.
On Saturday, December 20, the Verona High School wrestling team started its 2014-2015 season by competing in the Edison Tournament. The team placed second out of eight teams in the varsity tournament, and third at the junior varsity level.
Frank Gabriele, a freshman, was a champion at 120 pounds at the Edison tournament.
Frank Gabriele, a freshman, was a champion at 120 pounds at the Edison tournament.

Several varsity wrestlers placed in the top three in their weight classes in Edison. Sophomore Jimmy Loudon placed third at 106 pounds, as did junior Patrick Palusczek (220) and seniors Brian Wagner (170) and Joe Ballantyne (126). Freshman John Gabriele finished second at 132 pounds, while junior Mark Riggio (182) and freshman Frank Gabriele (120), were tournament champions.

Jimmy Loudon was third in his weight class in the Edison tournament and second in Bloomfield.
Jimmy Loudon was third in his weight class in the Edison tournament and second in Bloomfield.

One week later, the Hillbillies competed in the Bloomfield Holiday Tournament, placing sixth as a team out of a field of 11 teams. Once again, Verona had multiple placewinners. John Gabriele placed third at 132 pounds, while Jimmy Loudon (106) and Frank Gabriele (120) each placed second. Mark Riggio was again a tournament champion at 182 pounds, and received the award for most pins in the least amount of time, as he pinned all three of his opponents in the first period.

John Gabriele took  second in Edison and third in Bloomfield.
John Gabriele took second in Edison and third in Bloomfield.

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During the winter recess, the wrestling team compiled a 3-2 dual meet record, earning victories over Passaic, Boonton and Madison. The Hillbillies open their conference schedule with a home match on Wednesday, January 7, at 5 p.m. against Orange.

Patrick Palusczek placed third at 220 pounds at the Edison tournament.
Patrick Palusczek placed third at 220 pounds at the Edison tournament.

Photos copyright Donna Giuliano and Pam Yao. Used by permission.

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