Don Bosco edges Westwood in first dual by Sean Farrell of The Record
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP – Don Bosco passed its first test and gave coach Rick LaForge his first win.
Jon Alvarado was the hero with his walk-off pin as the defending Bergen County champions avoided an upset in their dual meet opener. Alvarado pinned Westwood heavyweight Keon Fraser-Morrison in 1:13 to complete a 33-30 comeback victory on Wednesday night.
“There’s definitely a lot of work to be done,” said LaForge, in his first season as head coach. “But to win in the fashion we did is nice for the team and for the guys. To see that level of excitement in the opening match, that’s a rare thing. Hopefully we can build off this win and good things will come.”
Westwood got off to a hot start despite missing four starters from the lineup. The No. 7-ranked Cardinals took an early lead by winning four of the first six matches in the lower weights. Ethan Fernandez and Cole Pfeufer pinned their opponents at 113 and 126 respectively, while Cardinal state qualifier Trent Furman won by decision up an extra weight class at 138.
Don Bosco was down by as many as 15 points, but regained the advantage with their middle and upper weights. The Ironmen roared back with victories by Christian Jimenez (152), Torin Jacobs (160) and Nick Alvarado (forfeit at 182). Dan Donohue’s decision evened the score with two bouts to go, and Alvarado ended the night in style.
What it means
Don Bosco will remain a Bergen County contender with a signature win already on its résumé. Clearly, the best is yet to come for the No. 5-ranked Ironmen since their lineup is far from being at full strength. The Ramsey team has been decimated by a stomach bug and must wait 30 days to use sophomore transfer Kelly Dunnigan, a nationally-ranked wrestler at 106. Things won’t be easy with Peter Acciardi and Luke Chakonis both gone, but LaForge remains optimistic that his team will surprise people.
“I think we could definitely shock the state,” Alvarado added. “We have a bunch of hard-workers. We get in the wrestling room and do what we got to do to put in the hard work. We’re a tough team.”
MORE WRESTLING: Results for Dec. 19 in North Jersey
It all came down to Alvarado, who missed all of last season with an ACL tear. The senior has made a name for himself as a standout linebacker, recording 150 tackles this fall with the Don Bosco football team. But he came up clutch with his wrestling team down 30-27 and the boisterous Cardinal fans eager to see an upset.
“He’s very hard-working,” Jimenez said. “He moves faster than some of the lighter weights, to be honest. It’s pretty cool to see for someone weighing 245 or 240.”
They said it
“I think Jon is going to end up on the podium this year at states. One hundred percent. His size and power and athleticism is going to be very, very difficult to go against. When he gets cleaned up a little bit from football and we get him in better wrestling shape, he’s going to a tough person to beat. His strength is unreal for a kid in high school.”
►Westwood visits Jefferson on Saturday in a quad that also includes Mount Olive and NV/Old Tappan.
►Don Bosco goes to the University of Delaware for this weekend’s Beast of the East wrestling tournament.