Jeff Zannetti still on pace to set a new school wins mark

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EDISON — In a win over Edison High School, Jeff Zannetti became only the second grappler in J.P. Stevens history to record 100 victories.

Zannetti continued his winning ways with career victory 101 against Woodbridge in the team’s 38-27 win. The 119-pound state title contender will look to remain unbeaten when the Hawks take on Perth Amboy, Monroe and Bishop Ahr this week. Stevens will host the visiting Bishop Ahr Trojans on Saturday.

An unblemished record would certainly be an accomplishment, and breaking the school record of 110 wins set last season by Tim Karmazsin seems inevitable, but Zannetti has his sights on the ultimate prize — a state championship.

Last season Zannetti went 37-1 at 112 pounds and finished third in the state, losing in the quarterfinals to second-place finisher Brian Nunziato of Bergen Catholic. Nunziato is wrestling at 125 pounds this season.

"After losing in the quarterfinals, I was able to win the next four matches and ended the season on a positive note," Zannetti said. "I obviously wanted to win it all, but I am working hard again this season."

With a 13-0 record, it seems that Zannetti’s toughest opponent is the scale.

"Sometimes it is tough for Jeff to make weight," head coach Steve Giordano said. "This weekend he worked hard to make weight only to win by a forfeit, which is rather disappointing."

With the forfeit victory, Zannetti helped Stevens improve its record to 7-2 in the important win over Woodbridge. Woodbridge owns the top spot in the Greater Middlesex Conference White Division, while Stevens is currently in third in the Red Division.

After this week’s competition, Zannetti will prepare to do battle in the GMC Tournament Feb. 6. Zannetti took first-place honors in the Matawan Ice Breaker Tournament and the Rahway Tournament earlier this season, and the GMC Tournament will give him another chance to add more hardware to his growing collection.

Old Bridge High School’s Justin Obrusniak is 11-1 with his only loss issued at the hands of Zannetti in the opening match of the season. A rematch should determine the champion.

"Everyone on the team is working hard and everyone wants to win," Zannetti said. "Our goal is to win the districts and the sectionals."

The districts begin Feb. 28 and will be followed by the regions and state championships.

If all goes well, Zannetti will take a state title with him to Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, or Rutgers University next season. His older brother, Gene, wrestles for Rutgers and once held the record for career wins at Stevens that Jeff is on track to beat.

"My dad and my brother were big influences on me," Zannetti said. "I started wrestling when I was in second grade and it has been part of my life ever since."

Zannetti also credits coach Giordano for getting him and his teammates prepared to do battle day in and day out.

‘Coach is always pushing us to reach our maximum potential," Zannetti said. "He’s the reason I am where I am today."