HAMMONTON — The Lower Cape May Regional High School wrestling team trailed Hammonton nearly the whole way Wednesday, but it was never very far behind.
Lower pulled it out 32-30 in the final match as Zach Hicks scored a technical fall at 113 pounds.
The Cape-Atlantic League National Conference victory put Lower Cape May at 6-10 overall and 4-1 in the conference. Hammonton is 11-6 this year and 3-1 in the National.
Lower Cape May’s Cory Damiana scored a second-period pin over Hammonton’s Brandon Beebe in a key match at 220. Teammates Zack Valcarce (120), Ty Altieri (145) and Frank Zeigler (182) each won by major decision.
“Everybody did their job and we didn’t give up a lot of bonus points,” Lower Cape May coach Rocky Ciccozzi said. “There were some decent matchups, and I knew it would be close. We put ourselves in the right spot to have a shot to win it.”
Hicks, a senior and four-year varsity wrestler, was too strong and experienced for Hammonton freshman Vaughn McFerren in the deciding match. Hicks won a 15-0 technical fall at 3 minutes, 47 seconds. Hicks worked his way to an 8-0 lead after the first period. Until Hicks’ win, the Caper Tigers had trailed since the third match of the evening.
“I was going for the pin but it was kind of hard and I decided to go for points,” said Hicks, 17. “I got a little tired watching (all the matches). I had to drink some water to stay alert. I felt some pressure. In the first period I waited for him to shoot. I kept positive and tried to make him lose energy.”
Damiana upped his season mark to 19-5 with a pin in 3:24. Damiana took a 2-1 lead after two minutes and increased it to 5-1 before scoring the fall. Beebe is 18-4.
“He (Beebe) had strong legs,” said junior Damiana, a 17-year-old Cape May resident. “I listed to coach Ciccozzi and (assistant) coach (Ed) Kramer. I was patient and got the pin for the coaches and the team. We trained all week for this, and we got the win.”
At 160, Lower’s Jackson Sole (12-6) won 7-6 over Brian Siligato. Sole’s takedown with 20 seconds left put him up 7-5.
“We work hard and I felt strong at the end,” said Sole, 17, of Cape May. “In a close match you push the action, and try to score points and outwork your opponent.”
Valcarce (18-5) won a 15-3 major decision over Hammonton’s Scott Figueroa in the first match. But Blue Devils Austin Figueroa (126), LT Struble (132) and Matt Bumbera (138) won decisions in the next three matches to put the home team up 9-4.
Hammonton stayed ahead as Nico Porretta pinned Alex Soriano in the third period at 152, and Kellen Whitney scored a pin over John Campbell in 1:08 in a 170-pound match. David Williams won by forfeit at 195. At 285, Bobby Frederico of Hammonton (22-1) won 1-0 on a third-period escape against Doug Flitcroft.
That put the Blue Devils up 30-21. But a forfeit win by Lower’s Eric Pruszinski closed it to 30-27, and Hicks’s victory gave the Caper Tigers the win.
“I knew it would be close,” Hammonton coach Dave Mauriello said. “They won seven matches and we won seven matches. Even though we lost, our guys gave good efforts at 220 and 182 and wrestled good matches. Our 126, 132 and 138 gutted out decisions. Nico just came back from an injury and that win was huge for us.”
Contact Guy Gargan:
106—Eric Pruszinski LCM won by forfeit; 113—Zach Hicks LCM tf Vaughn McFerren 15-0 3:47; *120—Zach Valcarce LCM md Scott Figueroa 15-3; 126—Austin Figueroa H d Adam Cabrera 8-1; 132—LT Struble H d Ryan Riess 7-5; 138—Matt Bumbera H d Michael Harkin 5-3; 145—Ty Altieri LCM md Logan Fiorentino 15-5; 152—Nico Porretta H p Alex Soriano 5:03; 160—Jackson Sole LCM d Brian Siligato 7-6; 170—Kellen Whitney H p John Campbell 1:08; 182—Frank Ziegler LCM md Jack Hartman 10-1; 195—David Williams H won by forfeit; 220—Cory Damiana LCM p Brandon Beebe 3:24; 285—Bobby Frederico H d Doug Flitcroft 1-0.
Records—Lower 6-10; Hammonton 11-6.
*Match began at this weight