Repeat champions: WHS wrestling brings home the Union County Conference title


Photo by Sierra Byrne

WHS wrestling team celebrating their win on Wednesday night

Sierra Byrne, Iris Commentary Editor

On Jan. 29, the Westfield Blue Devils wrestling team battled against the Cranford Cougars to secure the Union County Conference title for the second year in a row with a score of 44-22.

Each sport has its rivalry with another town and for the Blue Devils wrestling team, it’s the Cougars. After Westfield placed second in the Union County Tournament with 233.5 team points to Cranford, who racked up 244 points, the determination to beat Cranford for the conference title was higher than ever. 

After competing the past Friday and Saturday, the team knew that despite their individual losses, they must work together in order to collect as many points as they possibly could. And that’s exactly what they did. 

Going into Wednesday’s match, Westfield was expected to win but that was no excuse for the team to not perform their best. Senior Captain and University of Pennsylvania commit, CJ Composto said, “[This] match was not won on Wednesday night; it was won in the nine months leading up to it and the preparation we put in to this season.”

Before the match began, the Westfield and Cranford captains shook hands and picked out of a hat to decide which weight the match would begin at; the weight class of 152 pounds was chosen. Junior Anthony Ciotta was the first wrestler on the mat and had the energy in the gym high when he walked off with a win. 

Ciotta and Sophomore wrestler, James McDermott who wrestles at the 182 weight class, walked off with a victories after competing in what is known as a toss up bouts. In bouts like these, there’s no way to tell who would win for sure. For Westfield, they both resulted in the ways the team was hoping for, as Ciotta secured a win and McDermott pinned his opponent. 

Winning the conference title was the overarching goal for both teams but so were the individual wins the wrestlers wanted to walk away with. In order to ensure these wins, Cranford ended up changing their lineup before the match by cutting down their 160 wrestlers to wrestle in the 152 weight class and their 138 wrestlers to wrestle in the 132 weight class. Cranford’s goal was to win these matches due to the weight cut but despite the competitive battle during these matches, Westfield came out on top winning both. 

“The conference title is an accomplishment,” said Senior Captain Luke Scanlan, “We [still] have the sectional championship on our mind… we’ve lost two years in a row to Watchung Hills and our number one goal is to go out and win it this year.”

The Westfield Blue Devil Wrestling Team will have their last match of the regular season this Friday against Fair Lawn at WHS at 7:00 pm. 

*Congratulations to Head Coach Glen Kurz as he surpassed Gary Kehler with the most wins as a wrestling coach at WHS.