top of page
  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Blue Devils fall at Lower Cape May

Dan Russoman/THG. Hammonton’s Frank Italiano (right) controls Lower Cape May’s Gabe Tosto early in his 4-2 victory at 144 pounds last week.

ERMA—Lower Cape May Regional opened and closed well as the host Tigers won one of the most anticipated early dual meets of the season on January 4, defeating Hammonton 41-24.

Lower Cape May won the first three matches of the meet to grab a 17-0 lead before Hammonton posted five consecutive victories to go ahead 21-17 with six matches remaining in the meet.

The Blue Devils had momentum, but were only able to capture one of the final six bouts and eventually went on to take their third loss of the season.

“[In] some matches we were a little overmatched,” Hammonton coach Dave Mauriello said.

“I was happy to just be giving up decisions in some of those because it helped keep us in the match,” Mauriello said.

The meet opened at 285 pounds and Lower Cape May’s Benjamin Rue set an early tone when he was able to pin Cam Broadnax in 1:33. Bryce Paley followed with a 17-2 technical fall victory against Hammonton’s Tyler Police at 106 and at 113, Billy Whitney pinned Nicodemo Cirillo in 3:57 to put the Tigers up 17-0.

Hammonton rallied in the next five matches. Shane Way began the run for the Blue Devils at 120 pounds, making quick work of Cade Heacock with a pin in 1:07. At 126, Gavin Morris was able to outlast Lower’s Connor Barkian and post a 12-9 win before Luca Giagunto scored a 9-3 decision against Jachere Harris at 132.

At 138, Logan Walters gave Hammonton the lead, 18-17, when he pinned Andrew Brant in 3:55.

Frank Italiano followed with a 4-2 decision against Gabe Tosto at 144 and the Blue Devils led 21-17.

The lead changed in each of the next two matches, as Lower’s Chase Hansen won a 19-4 technical fall against Ed Niedoba at 150 and Hammonton’s Vincent Palermo topped Dominick Marrero 8-2 at 157.

Lower trailed 24-22 with four bouts remaining and the Tigers scored wins in each to seal the victory.

At 165, Derron Azile scored a 12-2 major decision against William Domenico to give the Tigers the lead, and at 175, Logan Haggerty defeated Michael Ryan 7-3 as Lower built a 29-24 lead.

The Tigers clinched the match at 190 pounds when Isiah Carr-Wing pinned Ryland Smith in 48 seconds. The final match of the night saw Lower’s Quinten Hagen pin Dan Lipari in 2:34 at 215 pounds.

“I thought our kids worked really hard in some of those spots and they [Lower Cape May] have a few really good kids where we don’t have anybody to answer with,” Mauriello said.

“I was generally happy with the way we performed. We have some guys who need to learn the difference between losing a decision and giving up a major or getting pinned because those points matter,” Mauriello said.

Hammonton was coming off a disappointing performance on December 30 when the Blue Devils dropped both ends of a tri-meet at Hopewell Valley. Against Lower Cape May, Hammonton lost the meet but every wrestler competed well on the mat.

“That’s kind of been our focus. We weren’t really happy with our effort last Saturday, not as far as winning or losing, just the competition level. So, I feel like they put their minds to it and we competed a little better [tonight] and as is often the case, we just keep getting better,” Mauriello said.

Hammonton has faced a tough schedule so far this season and the coaching staff has been happy with the progress the team has made so far against some difficult competition.

“It’s good [to have some tough matches] and sometimes you’re asking them to do more than they’re ready to give right now and you hope that it pays dividends two or three weeks from now,” Mauriello said.

On January 6, Hammonton hosted its annual Blue Devil Duals, placing third in the team standings.

After opening with a victory, Hammonton lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Washington Twp. 45-21.

While the Minutemen went on to defeat Rancocas Valley to earn their fourth title in five years at the event, the host Blue Devils topped Gateway/Woodbury to take home third place.

In the matchup, Hammonton won 42-30. Way pinned Aidan Barbato in 3:18 at 120 pounds and Morris took down Tavien Benoit in 1:18 at 126. At 132, Giagunto was a 5-1 winner against Dante Gismondi and at 144, Italiano topped Noah Ubil 6-2.

Palermo defeated Evan Lee with a pin in 1:46 at 157 pounds and at 190, Ryan needed 41 seconds to take down Nick Kircher. Lipari won by forfeit at 215 and at 113, Cirillo pinned Christian Snyder in 5:10.

With the duals behind them, Hammonton returns it focus to the regular season slate.

“The schedule is tough; we have Ocean City this week so nothing’s easy and hopefully we continue to buy in and get better. It’s a lot of challenges early for us and you hope you can sneak in some wins along the way,” Mauriello said.

Hammonton wrestled at Ocean City on January 9, but results were too late for this edition. On January 13, the Blue Devils visit Lawrence for a quad meet.


bottom of page