|VIDEO: It's history! Emerson/Park Ridge edges Del Val for state title|
For Emerson/Park Ridge coach Stan Woods, this was a win he waited a half-century to experience.
For Bergen County public schools, it ended 35 years of frustration and disappointment.
Emerson/Park Ridge won its first-ever wrestling state title--and the first ever by a public school team from Bergen County--with a nail-biting win in the Group II state final at Toms River. EPR barely hung on for a 29-28 triumph over Delaware Valley that wasn't decided until the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Zach Lewis of EPR just needed to avoid a pin in the final match at 145 pounds. Rhys Zigich turned Lewis to his back once, and the EPR wrestler received numerous stalling cautions, but managed to hold on to give his team the win.
Emerson/Park Ridge won eight bouts, including the first four to take a 15-0 lead. But Delaware Valley fought back to tie the score at 18-18 thanks to a pin and a forfeit win.
After EPR went up 25-18, a key pin by Matt Kolonia kept Del Val's chances alive. Sam Schneider then won a major decision for the Cavos, giving his team a five-point lead while leaving the possibility of a "pin to win" scenario for the Terriers, a chance they could not seize.
Jordan Giacomelli had the only pin for Emerson/Park Ridge. Paco Robles also had a major decision, while Michael DiBella, Jonah Schectman, Josh Lewis, Randy Napolitano and Luke Mazzeo scored decisions.
Woods, Emerson/Park Ridge's legendary coach, won his first state title in his 50th year associated with the wrestling program, the last 49 as head coach. For Woods, it's his 704th career win, which is the most by any coach in New Jersey wrestling history.
EPR finishes the dual-meet season at 23-2.
Delaware Valley also had a pin from Kyle Schlitter; it ends the year 20-6.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school wrestling team tournament state final, click play in the box at left.