Hanover Park’s Anthony Cefolo was glad to return to Boardwalk Hall Friday night.
And boy, did it show.
The Hornets’ 120-pounder won both of his matches in convincing fashion in the state tournament and advanced to this morning’s quarterfinals.
Cefolo, who won the state championship at 106 pounds two years ago but took fourth and didn’t qualify for the states last year, returned to his form from two years ago with two commanding victories.
In the first round, Cefolo reversed Glen Rock’s Mike Andreano and dominated in the third period on the way to an 11-4 victory.
Then in the second round, Cefolo had a late takedown to end the first period and then took over in the second. He had a takedown and three backs in the second and in the third, finishing the deal with a pin in 5:24 over Clifton’s Khalil Zawaide.
“This feels really good,” Cefolo said. “Last year I wasn’t even here. I came to watch to support my team, but I hated not wrestling. After the season, all of my energy was focused on coming back here and getting back to the top of the podium.”
“Anthony looked real good,” coach James LaValle said. “He worked hard and pushed the pace.”
Cefolo will face Timber Creek’s Region 8 champion John Amato in the quarters at 10 a.m.
“Winning two matches tonight helps my confidence,” Cefolo said. “When you get the first one out of the way, you feel a lot better and more confident.”
Cefolo’s teammate Lou Raimo (113) continued his drive for a state championship with a 5-4 win over Freehold senior Nick DePierro.
“It was fun wrestling here, a whole different setting,” Raimo said. “It was a little nerve-wracking but then once the whistle blew I was ready to go. I didn’t wrestle the kind of match I wanted to wrestle but it worked out, I’m not going to complain. I pushed myself and kept going.”
Delbarton had four pins early in the second round. Ty Agaisse (106) pinned Jackson’s Fred Terranova in 1:04. Later, the Green Wave had three consecutive pins.
At 138, Travis Vasquez pinned Watchung Hills Alex Murray in 3:00. Murray defeated Vasquez in the regions last week.
At 145, Danny Reed had a takedown and three backs and went on to pin Sean Kelly of Northern Highlands in 3:08.
“It was the greatest feeling ever,” Reed said. “It’s a big, big confidence booster. I was able to control the whole match.”
Joe Tavoso (152) flattened Southern’s Nicholas Racanelli in 1:49.
“I got a takedown off the re-shoot,” Tavoso said. “I almost tilted him and I was in a bad position. He was about to cement mix me, but I came out to the side and came under him. I blinked and he was on his back and I couldn’t believe it. It’s something we worked on in practice this week.”
Agaisse began the second round with a bang for the Green Wave.
“I used a wrist and a half right off and stuck with it,” Agaisse said. “The best time to score points is in transition. I got it right away and got the pin.”
Green Wave teammate Nick Farro won by 12-6 over Bridgewater’s Gianni Calo in the second round.
“I wanted to control the match,” Farro said. “The coaches all week wanted us to score within the first 20 seconds. I scored early, but I didn’t get a good shot in, but I was able to control the match.”