Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Buzzer Bonanza

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Buzzer Bonanza

Article excerpt

ATLANTIC CITY - Luke Farinaro was tired. He was limping. All he wanted to do was get his hands on some ice.

But nothing was going to keep Farinaro from hugging one of his biggest fans, his father, Tom, as a tear ran down his face after reaching the state wrestling final for the first time in his career.

Farinaro, of Don Bosco, earned a takedown just as time expired to beat Delbarton's Josef Johnson, 3-1, at 170 pounds Saturday at Boardwalk Hall.

He joins teammates and returning finalists Kyle Bierdumpfel and Zack Chakonis, and returning champion Anthony Giraldo of North Bergen among seven North Jersey wrestlers to reach the finals.

"It was such a great feeling to see my father going nuts in the stands," said Farinaro, who is bound for Duke in September. "I'm so glad he was here to see me get this far."

The bout looked destined for overtime as Farinaro and Johnson traded escapes and remained tied at 1 as time was running down.

But Farinaro, who finished fifth last season, hooked Johnson's leg while defending against a shot and eventually got enough of an advantage to earn the takedown.

"All of a sudden the referee blows the whistle, and I didn't know if it was enough for two [points]," Farinaro said. "Then I looked around and saw everybody going crazy and I figured, 'Oh, I guess I won.' "

Farinaro will face returning champ Dillon Artigliere of Roxbury in today's finals.

Bierdumpfel left little doubt that he was one of the best in a loaded weight class at 126, taking the bout to North Hunterdon's Ryan Pomrinca and coming away with a 9-5 victory.

And one of the first people to congratulate him was returning champion Craig De La Cruz of Bound Brook, whom he will face in the final. De La Cruz lost to Pomrinca last week in overtime in the Region 5 final.

"We're really good friends," said Bierdumpfel, who wrestled with De La Cruz with the New Jersey national team last summer. "But make no mistake about it. For those six minutes on the mat, we're competing for a state championship. It's going to be a great match."

And it's Bierdumpfel's chance to open some eyes after going through last season as the second-best 106-pounder in the state and making the jump to 126 this season. …

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