Ever since he won the 126-pound state championship last March, Anthony Giraldo has focused on one thing – becoming the first Hudson County wrestler to ever win two state titles and the first to repeat as a state champion.
Last weekend at the Region 4 championships at West Orange High School, Giraldo moved one step closer to that ultimate goal, winning his fourth region gold medal by dominating Clifton’s Moe Farhan, 13-4, in the 132-pound bracket.
In the process, Giraldo was named the Region 4 Most Outstanding Wrestler and improved his seasonal mark to an impressive 38-0 and moves on to this weekend’s state championships, with a chance to make history.
Giraldo is not the only local wrestler to remain undefeated with a victory at Region 4.
Sean Roesing of Secaucus improved to 35-0 with his victory in the 170-pound championship. Roesing defeated Nathan Bueno of Becton/Wallington, 2-1, and will move to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City this weekend.
Much like they did at the District 16 tourney last weekend, the Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep dominated, winning seven individual titles. It’s the best individual showing by any program at Region 4 in over a decade.
Alec Kelly (106), Michael Russo (120), the Burkert twins, Connor (138) and Ryan (145), Christian Colucci (195), James Fox (220) and Armond Cox (heavyweight) all won their respective weight classes.
St. Peter’s Prep coach Anthony Verdi said months ago that the Marauders wrestled a tough regular season schedule to get ready for the state tournament. It sure looks like the Marauders are certainly ready for Atlantic City.
Nine region champs from Hudson County in one year? That’s certainly something to be proud of.
Secaucus’ Jan Castellanos just missed making it 10 region champs, but he suffered his first setback of the season in the 182-pound finale. The Patriots will send both Roesing and Castellanos to Atlantic City.
Dan Ortega (113), Manny Dominguez (145) and Justin Gomez (220) of North Bergen, Manny Ramirez (152) and Dean Helstowski (182) of St. Peter’s and Adrian Oceguera of Union City (195) all won their respective consolation round matches to punch their tickets to Atlantic City as well.
With 16 competitors at Boardwalk Hall, it’s the biggest number of wrestlers from Hudson County in ages. In many parts of the state, Hudson County wrestling is scorned upon. No one can sneer at Hudson County this year. Congrats to all who are headed to AC…
St. Dominic Academy basketball coach and English teacher David Wunsch resigned last week with three games left to go in the season, including the Blue Devils’ NJSIAA Non-Public A state tournament game against Kent Place.
Wunsch resigned after it was brought to the school’s attention that Wunsch had had his teaching certificate suspended.
Wunsch had apparently first had his teaching certificate suspended by the state for a year in 2003 for reasons that could not be verified by press time. However, during that time, he apparently continued to teach at Leonia High School. The school found out and questioned him about the matter in 2012. At a hearing in 2012, he told the state that he thought he could continue to teach and coach until he was asked to officially turn in his certificate. The state nevertheless suspended his certificate for another three years. In 2012, Wunsch resigned his positions at Leonia and applied for the English teaching position at St. Dominic, apparently failing to inform the officials at St. Dominic that his teaching certificate was suspended.
There’s no question that SDA should have done more in checking Wunsch out before hiring him. After all, all it took was a Google hit on Wunsch’s name to find the document issued by the Board of Examiners from the state Department of Education that had the details of Wunsch’s certificate suspension.
Barbara Griffin, who has the title of Head of School at SDA, said that the document on Wunsch was not available when the interview process was taking place over a year ago.
“Some things don’t show up right away,” Griffin said. “Some things are also not revealed in the interview process. We do our own background checking and I thought we did it thoroughly. But we didn’t know about it [Wunsch’s suspension].”
Here’s something else that should have sent notice. Why would someone who had spent 15 years of his life teaching in the public school system of Leonia want to take a teaching job at SDA, obviously taking a salary decrease of nearly two-thirds what he would be making at his former job?
“We explored that with him,” Griffin said. “People do leave the public sector and go into Parochial schools. It doesn’t happen frequently, but it does. We just have to assume that what he [Wunsch] is telling us is true. He did not indicate anything.”
Griffin was asked if SDA checked Wunsch’s references on his resume.
“I know references were checked,” Griffin said. “I didn’t check them personally. But in my experience, some places are not forthcoming with their information.”
SDA does not require its teachers to own a valid teaching certificate, as public schools often do.
“But it is something we look at,” Griffin said. “We do expect a certificate to be in good standing. Now that this unfortunate incident has happened, as we move forward, we will seek other ways of obtaining information. You learn from these things and move on.”
As for the Blue Devils, John Hester, the father of one of the team’s players, was named the interim head coach and guided the team through the last three games, including a win over Kent Place in the state playoffs. Hester, who has gained notoriety locally for his broadcasts of high school games especially on Bayonne Cablevision, took over a tough situation and got a victory. In that win, junior Hannah Johnson, a former Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week, scored the 1,000th point of her career….
The Secaucus boys’ basketball team ended its season with a loss to Dunellen in the opening round of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I playoffs, closing the year with an 11-15 record.
Yet, the Patriots are still champions.
That’s right, they won a share of the Northern Jersey Interscholastic League-Liberty Division championship, winning all 11 of their games inside their division. The Patriots had the same league mark as New Milford, thus sharing the league crown.
Now when does a team with a sub-.500 record ever get a chance to win a championship?
From the Patriots’ standpoint, it’s more remarkable considering that they started off the season losing their first six games.
“I’m extremely proud of these kids,” Secaucus head coach Carlos Cueto said. “They went through a lot, yet hung together throughout. We had a lot of early season losses, but I think that 0-6 start prepared us to play the rest of the league. It’s a team that really had no varsity experience prior to this year. They truly believed in what they were doing and went from there.”
Senior Colby Iyer was the heart of the team, averaging 16 points per game.
“From the get-go, he carried us,” Cueto said of Iyer. “He did it all.”
Sophomore point guard Jovin Ramos became a catalyst as the season wore on.
“Early on, he had no confidence, but once he did, we started to play well and it was all because of him. He developed into a good leader. He’s our sparkplug.”
Ramos averaged 13 points per game for the Patriots…
St. Peter’s Prep shortstop T.J. Ward has found a new collegiate home. Ward, the Hudson Reporter Player of the Year last year, had originally declared his intentions to attend Temple, but when the school decided to eliminate its baseball program, Ward had to scramble late to find a suitable fit.
The winner in the Ward sweepstakes is the University of Hartford and Ward is pleased to have found another top-flight Division I school who could offer a scholarship package so late in the recruiting process…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.