By Warren Rappleyea
Sayreville War Memorial High School’s wrestling team evened its record at 8-8 with a victory at Carteret High School Feb. 1, but the real story for the Bombers this winter is heavyweight Anthony Porcaro, who won his third straight Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) title Jan. 30.
The senior defeated Woodbridge High School’s Alex LaGrippo, 3-2, to win the GMC championship after downing Perth Amboy High School’s Jose Caceres, 2-1, in an ultimate tiebreaker to win the semifinals.
“The matches are almost always close in the heavyweight division because the boys are so big and strong,” Sayreville coach Marcus Ivy said. “Anthony just finds ways to win because of his strength and athleticism. He can do things that no one his size should be able to do like walk on his hands for 100 feet. You’d be hard pressed to find another heavyweight who can do the things Anthony can do.”
Porcaro reached the 100-win mark for his career by downing LaGrippo — one of the top competitors in the GMC — in mid-January. The Bombers’ senior now owns a career mark of 113-16 and is within striking distance of Ramon Santiago’s team record of 130 wins.
Porcaro, 24-1 on the season, has also won the Neptune Classic and the Roselle Tournament, with his lone loss coming in the finals of the Union City Wrestling Tournament. With the season winding down, Porcaro is aiming for a three-peat in both the District 20 and Region 5 tournaments.
“Anthony is always training and looking for ways to get better; he’s a great kid to coach,” Ivy said. “He’s really going all out this year to make a run at the state championship.”
Porcaro’s work ethic and winning ways are rubbing off on his younger teammates, Ivy said. The Bombers’ lineup regularly includes nine underclassmen out of 14 positions.
Freshman Alex Coelho has established himself at 132 pounds, where he has posted a 14-10 mark. At 120 pounds, Trevor Mastoreo is 13-10, and Scott Mish has compiled seven victories at 106 pounds. Both are freshmen. Sophomore Josh Garrett is holding his own in the difficult 170-pound weight class.
Ivy added that he expects a strong finish from senior Frank Roman, who is 15-8 at 113 pounds and is coming off a fifth-place finish in the GMC Tourament. Fellow senior Dylan Taillefer is 12-10 at 145 pounds, and much-improved junior Tyler Lewis is 19-4 at 182 pounds and is coming off a fourth-place finish in the GMC Tournament. Another junior, Kyle Wavero, is 12-8 at 160 pounds.
“We’ve been very competitive and our younger guys are learning what it takes, like sometimes a quality loss is a positive thing,” Ivy said. “We want to finish as strong as we can and then look to have success in districts.”
Sayreville has three matches remaining: Feb. 6 against Middlesex High School, Feb. 10 at Montgomery High School and at home Feb. 12 against powerful Old Bridge High School.