EMERSON, N.J.— Emerson/Park Ridge became the first public school from Bergen or Passaic counties to ever win a state wrestling title when it edged out Delaware Valley, 29-28, on Sunday.
All freshman Zach Lewis had to do was avoid being pinned in the final bout.
““I never saw a kid so happy about losing,” Cavos head coach Stan Woods said with a laugh. “He was thrilled.”
Despite falling, 11-2, Lewis stayed off his back to prevent a six-point pin.
Instead, Emerson/Park Ridge, which was up five, beat the Hunterdon County school for the Group 2 victory.
Sam Schneider (138) won in the penultimate bout, setting up a dramatic finale.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling,” said Woods, who recorded his state-best 704th victory and last Friday earned his ninth North, 1 Group 2 state sectional title after the Cavos dispatched High Point, 44-19. “It’s a great, great feeling.”
Schneider improved to 32-0 on the year and earned career win No. 136 – tied with his brother, Steven, for best in school history.
After Delaware Valley knotted things at 18, Luke Mazzeo (120) and Paco Robles (126) earned a decision and major decision, respectively, to break away.
In addition, Jordan Giacomelli (170) won via pinfall while Mike DiBella (152),Jonah Schechtman (160) and Josh Lewis (182) earned decisions.
“They really stayed within themselves and worked hard through all of it,” said Woods, whose team finished the season with a 23-2 record.
To prepare for a state tournament run, Woods pieced together a challenging schedule.
“We put them in situations where they’d be tested,” said the 47-year- coach and former physical education teacher, who had the Emerson Gymnasium named in his honor. “And they’ve handed it all year long.”
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