Green Wave rolls to District 22 mat title

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

The last available team championship was seized by the Long Branch High School wrestling team Saturday.

The Green Wave, who can already stake a claim to being No. 1 in the state after winning the Shore Conference Tournament, Central Jersey Group II and State Group II titles, put their tournament power on display at Red Bank Regional High School over the weekend.

Coach Bill George’s Green Wave won the NJSIAA District 22 Tournament in their debut (they moved from District 23) with 192 points. Runnerup Raritan High School scored 166.5. Middletown South was third (133.5) followed by Ocean Township (130.5) and Middletown North (105.5).

Long Branch had six individual champions, led by returning state champion Nick Visicaro (160) and Billy George (189).

Visicaro won by a technical fall, 16-1, over Raritan’s Ryan Lynch. This was Visicaro’s second district title.

George won by a 5-2 decision over Middletown North’s Brandon Vorrius. For George, this was his third district championship.

Scott Festejo (135), Doug Cornell (152) and Omar Akel (171) all picked up their second straight district titles.

Festejo pinned Ocean Township’s Billy Knifel in 1:28 in his final. Cornell decisioned Christian Brothers Academy’s Vincent Favia, 3-1. Akel won by a major decision, 11-0, over Raritan’s Cameron Lentze.

Joining the Green Wave victory parade was Andrew Cornell, who won at 125 pounds by a fall in 3:54 over Raritan’s Nick Liguori.

This was Long Branch’s third straight district title (the other two were at District 23).

Runner-up Raritan had one champion, Matthew Lindo. He defeated Long Branch’s Luke Balina, 4- 2, in the 103 final.

Middletown North and South each had two winners.

Zachary Torchia (112) and Alex Dulin (119) won back-to-back matches for the Lions. Torchia pinned Nicholas George of Long Branch in 5:02 and Dulin scored a 2-1 decision over Raritan’s Matt Mitchell.

Nick Herring (130) and Manny Blasco (140) were South’s winners. Herring decisioned Ocean Township’s Withler Marcelin, 9-0, and Blasco scored a 7-4 decision over CBA’s Pat Cunningham.

Ocean Township also had a pair of champions in Andrew Lee (145) and Tyler Lyster (215). Lee beat Rumson-Fair Haven’s Nick Carducci by a 10- 2 major decision, and Lyster scored a pin-fall victory over Raritan’s Sebastian Lodato in 2:40.

Keyport’s Greg Velasco was named the tournament’sMostOutstandingWrestler. He won by a pin in all three matches with none of them going beyond the first period. In the final, he pinned Middletown South’s Dylan Zimmerman in 30 seconds.

The road to Atlantic City and the state individual championships continues this weekend (Friday and Saturday) at the Ritacco Center in Toms River with the Region VI Tournament.