BY GABY MALANGA AND FRANK PAPEO
Assistant Sports Editors
At the NJSIAA State Tournament in Atlantic City on March 4, Logan Roman won the first State Wrestling Championship in the history of Old Bridge High School. The Knights sent five wrestlers to the big stage in Atlantic City, including Roman, Avery Mack, Daniel Hennessey, Jake Tenebruso, and Tyler Sagi.
“Last year, I fell short of making the podium and I knew that is where I wanted to be. I never thought that I would be on top of it,” stated Roman, a junior. The achievement should come as no surprise considering Roman’s 45-1 record and dominance in his weight-class.
In the Region 5 Tournament on February 2, Roman was crowned champion and earned the Outstanding Wrestler award setting him up for the State Tournament. Logan knew heading into A.C. he needed to have an aggressive physical and mental mindset. “I became more focused on how to win and what I needed to do physically to win,” Roman stated.
Since Roman was young, he dreamed of becoming a State Champion. “My dad has been taking me to the High School States since I was a little kid. I always thought these guys were superheroes,” Roman explained. Making his way to Atlantic City, Roman made his childhood dreams a reality.
On day one of the State Tournament, Roman won Round 1, beating Camden Catholic’s Dom Digiacomo with a fall in 5 minutes and 55 seconds, which set him up to wrestle against Christopher Nucifora of Bergen Catholic. Round 2 Roman won on a technical fall after outscoring Nucifora 17-2, advancing to the Quarterfinals to take on the three-seed Robert Duffy of Christian Brothers Academy.
“This year, my goal was to get on the podium,” Roman said. Roman pinned Duffy in 2 minutes and 45 seconds guaranteeing a top-six placement overall. Now, Roman’s goal became seeing how high on the podium he could climb.
In the semifinals Roman put on a show with a 5-3 sudden overtime victory over Jayden James from Delbarton, who was ranked number one in the state and number twelve in the country. This victory advanced Roman to the State Finals.
Roman’s confidence never sank as he came from behind to win a tough match. “Logan has always been extremely talented and leads by example,” head coach John Post said. “That confidence has transferred to even greater success on the mat this season.”
On Saturday, March 4th, at the State Finals, Roman took the mat as the number six seed, lining up against the number nine seed, Logan Brzozowski from Seton Hall Prep. The match remained scoreless through the first two periods. Going into third period, tensions ran high and both wrestlers came into the third with vengeance. “My mindset became more aggressive,” Roman stated.
The first point of the match was awarded to Roman and went up 1-0 after Brzozowski chose to set up neutral. With one minute left in the third period, Roman flipped Brzozowski on the mat earning the takedown, going up 3-0. Roman held his own to win the match 3-1. “I feel like I am on the top of the world,” Roman expressed. “I’m so excited to have done this.”
Mack, a senior, and Tenebruso, a sophomore, both finished their seasons as state qualifiers. “I am very proud of what I accomplished, and I am eager to improve, learn and develop myself for next year’s competition,” Jake Tenebruso said. Hennessey finished his run as a state qualifier and made his way into the top-24 in the state in his weight-class.
Sagi, the team captain, earned the fourth spot on the podium in a challenging bracket in the State Tournament, adding to an impressive senior year resume that already included Greater Middlesex County Champion, District 19 Champion, and Region 5 Champion. “He is the cornerstone of our foundation, the first brick that was set bearing all the weight,” Post said. “He never cracked, never relented.”
Tyler Sagi closed out his high school career with an all-time school-high record of 137-14. “I am going to miss taking his corner so much, but I know he is onto bigger and better things,” Post added. Tyler will continue his wrestling career at The United States Naval Academy.
Sagi and the other seniors have helped make the Old Bridge wrestling program one of the most respected in New Jersey, and, this season, Roman proved that he is ready to help lead the team to even greater success in the future.
Posted on 3/10/23
Photos by Reese SanAgustin