Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wayne Valley Reaps Benefits of Schedule

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wayne Valley Reaps Benefits of Schedule

Article excerpt

It's been a demanding year for the Wayne Valley wrestling team, one filled with tough opponents, lopsided losses and thrilling victories.

But after weathering a brutal two-month stretch when they faced several of the top teams in New Jersey, the Indians are starting to see the benefits. They're at the top of their game for the most important part of the season, and just in time to earn some revenge.

"We've had a very tough schedule and I think the kids are starting to use the toughness of our schedule to our advantage," Wayne Valley coach Gavin Bannat said. "We're getting better, we're working harder, and the kids realize if they want to be good, this is the type of competition we need."

But it doesn't get any easier.

Third-seeded Wayne Valley faces second-seeded Northern Highlands tonight in the North 1, Group 3 semifinals in a rematch of their regular-season dual won by the Highlanders, 36-29. That match started a run where the Indians went on to face perennial powers Ocean, Roxbury and St. Peters - not to mention Kittatinny earlier in the season - and since then, they've proven to be a stronger team.

Wayne Valley beat Emerson/Park Ridge, 36-32, three days after dominating the Passaic County tournament, then earned a 43-18 win over Bergenfield in the first round of the state tournament.

Much of the success has been because of its stars - Tyler Hrycak (106), Sam Tareky (126), Anthony Duncan (145), Nick Della Fera (182), Anthony Landberg (195) and Alex Trani (220). But Wayne Valley also has benefited from the improvement of Sal Castiglia (138) and Brandon Ross (160), plus the other starters settling into their roles.

"I think the kids are excited for another chance [at Northern Highlands]," Bannat said. "We're familiar with each other and we're looking forward to the competition."

Just as they have all year.

* The drive toward one-day district tournaments is gaining momentum in North Jersey as Districts 7 (Leonia), 13 (West Essex) and 15 (Becton) are expected to join District 4 in West Milford by running their 10-team tournaments Saturday, Feb. …

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