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NEW INFO ADDED: LCMR Wrestlers Earn First Sectional Title in 42 Years

Members of the Lower Cape May Regional High School’s wrestling team celebrate as they win their first sectional title in 42 years. The grapplers are competing in individual matches over the next three weekends.

By Karen Knight

COLD SPRING – Lower Cape May Regional High School’s wrestling team never took its eye off its goal, earning its first sectional title in 42 years.

Now, team members will be competing as individuals in the district, regional and state tournaments over the next three weekends.

After the district tournament Feb. 17, the Caper Tigers advanced 10 wrestlers to the regional competition Feb. 24-25, a school record. They were: Bryce Paley, Conner Barikian, Gabe Tosto, Logan Haggerty, Quinten Hagan, Ben Rue, who each placed third in their weight class; Jahcere Harris and Deron Azille, who placed second; Chase Hansen and Isiah Carr-Wing, champions, and Hansen, who earned the Outstanding Wrestler Award.

Head coach Billy Damiana Jr., 33, who graduated from LCMR and still holds the school’s wrestling record of 139 wins, said his squad “started hot, and kept their eye on their goal.”

“We only lost one wrestler through graduation, all our starters returned, and we knew we had a tough freshman class coming in,” Damiana said about the season. “The South Jersey division we are in is tough competition, regardless of school size. We started the year thinking we had a shot at the title, and we did.”

The Caper Tigers, 22-5 during the season and ranked second, defeated top-ranked West Deptford (21-3), 30-22, in the South Group II finals. Thirty-six students are on the team.

Lower Cape May Regional High School wresting coach Billy Damiana Jr. celebrates his squad’s winning its first sectional title in 42 years. The Caper Tigers beat West Deptford 30-22 to win the title.

Damiana said junior Connor Barikian scored a takedown in the closing seconds for a 5-4 decision at 126 pounds, freshman Greg Tosto had a 4-2 decision at 144, sophomore Danny Byrne’s escape with 11 seconds left earned him a 9-8 decision at 157, and senior Deron Azille delivered a 7-6 win at 165 before Logan Haggerty sealed a clutch pin at 175, putting the team in great position. Heavyweight Ben Rue’s 12-3 decision in the 285 clinched the championship.

The coach said the seniors on the squad had a “stellar” season and were looking to successful post-season competition as well. He said Haggerty went 28-4 and Azille had 20 wins, and that Quinten Hagan is ranked in the top eight in South Jersey at 215 pounds.

Damiana, a history teacher, has been head coach for seven years. He is assisted by Dennis Elia, another LCMR alumni, and his brother, Corry Damiana.

Contact the author, Karen Knight, at kknight@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Karen Knight is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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