Greco and Festa Wrestle Their Way to States

The 2011-2012 VHS Wrestling team finished out their winter season with a 12-6 record and finished third in the conference.  Although they did not qualify to compete in states, the impressive part of the season came from a select few individual wrestlers.

Senior captain Joe Festa who wrestles in the 220 weight class with a season record of 32-3 and junior Frank Greco who wrestles in the 182 weight class with a season record of 33-5 both took first place in the Essex County Tournament, while sophomore Paul Scully took second place wrestling at the 113 weight class.

Festa’s and Greco’s county championship matches both went into double overtime. Festa wrestled Anthony Angelone from West Orange and won 7-5, while Greco won 6-5 against Kevin Matlon from Seton Hall Prep. These matches were not the end of the exceptional season that these wrestlers had.

Greco went on to take first in the District Tournament; however, Festa was not as lucky. He lost 3-2 in the finals of the tournament in a rematch against Angelone.

“It was terrible wrestling Angelone again,” said Festa. “It’s hard to wrestle the same person more than once because they know how to prepare for you, and they find ways to beat you.”

Along with Greco, Scully and junior Joe Cordasco who wrestles at 162 took first in Districts while senior captain Tom Cundari took third in the 152 weight class. These five wrestlers were allowed to move on to the Regional Tournament while the season was over for the rest of the team.

Because Festa and Greco were the only two wrestlers to finish in the top three places in Regions in their weight class, they moved on to states. In Regions, both wrestlers lost in their semi-final round—Festa faced Angelone again and lost—but had the chance to wrestle back to take third. To do this, a wrestler has to win one match, and then wrestle in the third/fourth place match.  

Greco pinned his opponent in the second period, while Festa won 4-3 in triple overtime against Carlos Rosa of Nutley.

Greco’s and Festa’s first round of states continued on Friday March 2 in Atlantic City along with many other wrestlers in the state.

“It’s great because I always talk about states and now I’m going,” said Greco when asked what it means to him that he is going to states. Although he lost in the first round, it was a worthwhile experience, and unfortunately, Festa was unable to participate in states due to a skin disease.

Greco also added when asked about next year that “it will be tough to get wrestlers to fill the upper weights” since all of the seniors wrestle there, but the “lower weights will get better.”