ROSELLE PARK, NJ — After winning one close bout and then dominating its next opponent at home on Monday, Feb. 7, as the second seed, the Roselle Park wrestling team ventured north to Bergen County to see if it could capture its first state sectional championship in four years.
Its foe on Wednesday, Feb. 9, was top-seeded Hasbrouck Heights. Known for its success in the lower weights over the years, Roselle Park won all six matches from 106 to 138.
In all, the Panthers produced victories in nine of the bout’s 14 matches, winning five of them by pin. When it came time to get back on the bus and exit via Route 17, Roselle Park was hoisting another sectional championship trophy.
Roselle Park defeated Hasbrouck Heights 45-30 to pin down its first North 2, Group 1, sectional state championship since 2018. It was the record 20th time Roselle Park had won North 2, Group 1, and it was the program’s 24th sectional title overall, including the four it won in Central Jersey, Group 1.
Roselle Park has now won North 2, Group 1, in 1980, 1981, and 1982; eight years in a row from 1984 through 1991; and 1993, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022. The Panthers captured Central Jersey, Group 1, titles in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Winning by pin for Roselle Park were Matthew Griffin at 106, Nick Torino at 126, Ryan Leiva at 138, Angel Mejia at 150 and Julian Colon at 157.
Winning by major decision at 120 for Roselle Park was Salvatore Randazzo by the score of 17-6 against Tyler Dimone. Coming out on top by technical fall for the Panthers at 132 was Mayson Harms against Andrew Parente in 4:14, with the final score being 18-3.
Scoring crucial 3-point decision victories for Roselle Park were Brandon Scott against Anthony Cummings, 8-2, at 113, and John Ranieri against Max Castro, 4-2, at 190.
Roselle Park was the only Union County school to win a sectional title this year. Governor Livingston reached the North 2, Group 2, final before falling at top-seeded Hanover Park.
Roselle Park has won the fifth most sectional titles of any school in New Jersey with its 24. Paulsboro is first with 41, followed by Phillipsburg with 39, High Point with 29 and Camden Catholic with 25. Except for Camden Catholic, the top five won sectional titles again this year.
Sectional titles began being contested in 1980.
Roselle Park finished its dual meet season at 12-3 and Hasbrouck Heights at 16-9. Roselle Park’s other two losses came to champion Cranford and second-place Westfield in Union County Conference–Watchung Division action.
Although Roselle Park finished fourth in the Union County Tournament team standings behind seven-repeat champion Cranford, second-place Governor Livingston and third-place Westfield, the Panthers had the most individual champions, with five. They included Griffin at 106, Harms at 132, Mejia at 144, Julian Alston at 150 and Ranieri at 175.
Roselle Park, awarded the fourth seed of the state’s four Group 1 sectional champions, was defeated at top-seeded Kittatinny, the North 1, Group 1, champ, by a score of 50-27 on Friday, Feb. 11. The other semifinal on Friday, Feb. 11, saw second-seeded Delaware Valley, the Central Jersey, Group 1 champ, win at home against five-time defending overall Group 1 champion Paulsboro, 33-27. Paulsboro, the perennial South, Group 1, sectional champion, was the third seed.
Paulsboro defeated Delaware Valley in the 2019 and 2020 Group 1 finals.
Delaware Valley then defeated Kittatinny, 36-23, on Sunday, Feb. 13, at Franklin High School in Somerset to capture its first overall Group 1 state championship.
Since overall group state championship matches have been contested, the only other schools besides Paulsboro to win Group 1 outright have been Roselle Park in the very first year of competition in 1982, Kittatinny in 2008 and Bound Brook for four straight seasons, from 2012-2015.
Paulsboro has won Group 1 33 out of 40 seasons. Paulsboro won 25 straight, from 1983 to 2007, three in a row from 2009 to 2011 and then another five straight from 2016 to 2020. The other eight titles are Roselle Park twice, 1982 and shared with Paulsboro in 1997; Kittatinny once in 2008; Bound Brook four times from 2012 to 2015; and Delaware Valley once in 2022.
Roselle Park’s sectional home triumphs on Monday, Feb. 7, were against seventh-seeded Boonton, 41-37, in the quarterfinals and then against sixth-seeded Secaucus, 52-19, in the semifinals.
The Panthers are now preparing for the District 14 tournament, which will take place at South Plainfield on Friday, Feb. 18, and Saturday, Feb. 19.
The 10 teams involved are Bound Brook, Brearley/Dayton, Hillside, Newark East Side, North Plainfield, Plainfield, Ridge, Roselle Park, South Plainfield and Union.
The wrestlers who are good enough to advance out of District 14 will compete in next week’s Region 4 competition at North Hunterdon.
Roselle Park Wrestling Section Titles (24 overall)
North 2, Group 1 (20 times)
1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991,
1993, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022.
Central Jersey, Group 1 (four times)
2004, 2008, 2009, 2011.
Most sectional titles in New Jersey: the top 5
• Paulsboro: 41.
• Phillipsburg: 39.
• High Point: 29.
• Camden Catholic: 25.
• Roselle Park: 24.
District 14 at South Plainfield: 10 schools
Friday, Feb. 18, and Saturday, Feb. 19
Bound Brook, Brearley/Dayton, Hillside, Newark East Side, North Plainfield,
Plainfield, Ridge, Roselle Park, South Plainfield and Union.