TRENTON – Hanover Park wrestlers wore shirts with the words Unfinished Business written on the back Sunday.
The Hornets finished that business. Say it loud and clear Hanover Park fans: The Hornets are the state Group II champion.
Hanover Park pulled away from Lenape Valley late and captured a 48-18 victory.
No more crushing memories of last year’s Group II championship match collapse against High Point. No more pondering the heartbreak or the what-ifs.
No more Unfinished Business for Hanover Park.
The Hornets finished business – loud and clear – with four pins in a row late in the match to break open a close battle with Lenape Valley.
Hanover Park became the first public school in Morris County to win a Group title since Jefferson won Group II in 1994.
The joy of the Hanover Park wrestlers afterwards completely wiped away the awful feeling associated with blowing a 23-point lead over High Point with only four weights to go on the way to a shocking and gut-wrenching 34-33 setback.
“It’s the complete opposite feeling,” Hanover Park coach James LaValle said. “I’m so overjoyed right now. I’m so proud of the way the team came together during our sectional and Group run.”
LaValle wasn’t the only one overjoyed.
“Last year was heartbreaking,” Christian Bassolino said amidst all of the celebrating. “Ever since that day we have been looking for redemption.”
They got it, courtesy of a cast that includes vastly improved upper weights and one of the better groups of lower weights and middle weights in all of New Jersey.
In the Lenape Valley match, Hanover Park’s Anthony Olivieri went up to 170 and beat the Patriots’ talented Joe LeBell, 5-1, before Masion Sangillo didn’t give up bonus points against D.J. Barrett, one of New Jersey’s best at 182, in a 3-0 loss.
At 285, Tommy Hunt beat Ralph Fritzky in a critical toss up bout, 6-2. Hunt had a five-point move on a scramble late in the match to win it.
“Our upper guys really sucked it up and they saved and got points for us,” LaValle said. “Sangillo, Hunt, and Eric Boccard were so devastated last year and they really came a long way for us.”
“Since last year, our upper weights have stepped it up,” Bassolino said. “They work so much harder.”
Boccard was one of the stars in the 47-18 morning semifinal victory over Buena when he unexpectedly pinned James Rodriguez in 4:33.
Hanover Park’s terrific lower weights dominated Lenape Valley and then clinched the Group II title. Gerard Angelo (106) majored Jacob Falleni, 13-2, Sean Conoly pinned Ray Smaha in 32 seconds and Lou Raimo pinned Jake Hickey in 2:09.
The Hornets’ Marco Zecca, usually a reserve, pinned Aaron Merkey in 2:53 before Anthony Cefolo beat Aaron Arzon in 1:35. Austin Nash followed with a 7-3 win over Nick Palumbo before Gene Angelo flattened Alvero DeOlivieira in 46 seconds.
“We definitely know where our lineup is strongest, so it worked out well for us,” said Bassolino, who kicked things off in the first weight class of the match when he tecked Lenape Valley’s Khalid Dickerson, 21-6 (5:21).
“Our schedule really prepared us,” said LaValle, whose team wrestled in the Beast of the East and Escape the Rock Tournaments as well as dual matches against Bergen Catholic, Paramus, Don Bosco, Phillipsburg, and Roxbury, among others. “The good competition prepared everyone for this.”
And it had a much, much happier ending compared to last year.
“This is such a thrill,” Cefolo, a two-time state champion, said. “Last year, I wanted to sit in a corner and cry. But this year we worked on our mistakes and looked forward rather than looking back.”
The Hornets will look back on the 2015 Group championship for a long, long time.
That’s what finishing Unfinished Business can do.
Hanover Park 48, Lenape Valley 18
152-Christian Bassolino (H) tech. fall Khalid Dickerson, 21-6 (5:21).
160-Nick Seck (L) dec. Matt Santos, 5-2.
170-Anthony Olivieri (H) dec. Joe LaBell, 5-1.
182-D.J. Barrett (L) dec. Mason Sangillo, 3-0.
195-Sam Palumbo (L) pin. Paul Rocha, 1:43.
220-Ralph Hall (L) pin. Eric Boccard, 2:31.
285-Tommy Hunt (H) dec. Ralph Fritzky, 6-2.
106-Gerard Angelo (H) maj. Dec. Jacob Falleni, 13-2.
113-Sean Conoly (H) pin. Ray Smaha, :32.
120-Lou Raimo (H) pin. Jake Hickey, 2:09.
126-Marco Zecca (H) pin. Aaron Merkey, 2:53.
132-Anthony Cefolo (H) pin. Aaron Arzon, 1:35.
138-Austin Nash (H) dec. Nick Palumbo, 7-3.
145-Gene Angelo (H) pin. Alvero DeOlivieira, :46
Hanover Park 47, Buena 18
145—Christian Bassolino (H) dec. Chaz Bramble, 3-2.
152—Mason Brestle (B) dec. Matt Santo,5-0.
160—Anthony Olivieri (H) pin. Josh Alvarez, 1:04.
170—Josh Maxwell (B) pin. Rory DeLuca, 4:49.
182—Mason Sangillo (H) maj. Dec. Chris Giordano, 12-4.
195—Eric Boccard (H) pin. James Rodriguez, 4:33.
220—John (Ben) Shuler pin. Paul Rocha, 4:26.
285—Antonio Rodriguez (B) dec. Tommy Hunt, 6-2.
106—Gerard Angelo (H) pin. Frank Benson, :14.
113—Sean Conoly (H) pin. Luis Rivera, 5:51.
120—Lou Raimo (H) dec. Chris LaPortez, 6-4.
126—Anthony Cefolo (H) pin. Justin Inman, 1:10.
132—Austin Nash (H) maj. Dec. Nick Renna, 13-1.
138—Gene Angelo (H) dec. Tomothy Suter, 3-1.Hanover wins