Roxbury’s Dillon Artigliere and Hanover Park’s Anthony Cefolo each know what it is is like to win a state wrestling championship.
Today, they’ll get a chance to win another.
Artigilere and Cefolo each won their semifinal matches at Boardwalk Hall Saturday.
The wrestlebacks will begin today at 10 a.m. The finals will begin at 3 p.m.
Artigliere, who won last year at 160, is looking to repeat after he defeated Franklin’s Mike Fagg-Davies, 7-2.
Artigliere started out with a quick takedown and soon had Fagg-Davies locked in a cradle. He almost had the fall but had to settle for three backs.
From that point on, Artigliere was careful not to let a chance to repeat to go to chance. In the third, he escaped and was taken down by then escaped.
Artigliere will face Don Bosco’s Luke Farinaro, who upset Delbarton’s Josef Johnson in the other semifinal with a takedown in the closing seconds, 3-1.
“I peaked over and saw the end of that match,” Artigliere said. “I’ve known (Farinaro) since we were little, but we’ve never wrestlled. We worked out and practiced together, but we were never partners or anything like that.”
Artigliere had tecked Fagg-Davies at the Kittatinny Christmas Tournament finals but knew that he had to go out and give his best in order to advance to the finals.
“When you step on the mat anything can happen,” he said. “People step up and I had to be ready. He is good, so I was ready for anything.”
Roxbury coach Jim Dolan agreed.
“Their kid had a great season and he is obviously one of the better kids in the state,” Dolan said. “Nothing is easy and we had to earn every single point we got. Dillon wrestled smart. He did well and wrestled his usual solid match.”
Dolan has the utmost confidence in Artigliere being ready to defend his state championship.
“He prepares for every match the right way,” Dolan said. “He wants to fiinish the year off right. He’s worked very hard for this.”
Cefolo has had to work his way all the way back from when he won the state 106-pound championship two years ago. Last year, he lost in the Region 3 wrestleback finals and didn’t qualify for the states.
But that seemed like such a long time ago Saturday, when he beat Jackson Liberty’s Michael Russo in three overtimes, 2-1, and reached the finals.
Cefolo will next face another Michael Russo — this one from St. Peter’s Prep — in the finals. Cefolo beat Russo in overtime at the Beast of the East Tournament in Delaware at the beginning of the season.
Cefolo rode Jackson Liberty’s Russo out in the second OT and then escaped in the third overtime in the semifinals.
“This feels great,” Cefolo said. “Not getting here last year lit a spark in me and I worked real hard to get back here. Now, I just want one more match. All I want now is to get back on top of the podium.”
When the match went into OT, Cefolo felt good about his chance because of his abiility on the mat.
“On top, you have 30 seconds and from there, it’s just mental,” he said. “You either want it or you don’t. And I love bottom, I’m real confident there. Most people can’t hold me down. In OT, I’m never nervous.”