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***Bloomfield & Bloomfield Tech met on Monday in a spirited SEC crossover contest that could very well be foreshadowing of what will be sectional state title contenders come 2018 NJSIAA tourney time!

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***Super Essex Conference uses strength of team formula which is fairly reliable across the board in making sure there is competition in hoops divisions. Find out more on process in "Feature Articles"

***After the Jan. 11th SEC game between Columbia and West Side was halted due to a fight in stands that broke out late in the fourth quarter, the two schools will talk about whether contest will indeed be resumed as rules state is a way to go. Learn more in "The Buzz"

Cranford heavyweight Matthew Savino is a happy young man after he recorded very important pin in his third-place bout which clinched the fourth straight team championship for Cougars in Saturday's Union County Wrestling Tournament at Union HS. (Photo by JR Parachini)

Savino’s Pin In 3rd Place Heavyweight Bout
Clinches 4th Straight UCT Title For Cranford
By JR Parachini

UNION – Matthew Savino made placing third a memory he will cherish the rest of his life.

Although the Cranford junior grappler did not win the heavyweight championship, his third-place finish – which was came on the final bout of the day – clinched a fourth straight county title for his Cougars.

When Savino pinned Summit senior Dan Cambronero in the middle of the second period of their third-place heavyweight bout, the loudest roar of the day was let out by jubilant Cranford wrestlers, coaches and fans immediately connected to mat No. 4 at Union’s Louis J. Rettino Gymnasium.

Savino’s win enabled Cranford to catapult over Roselle Park and give the Cougars their fourth consecutive Union County Tournament championship.

Cranford captured Saturday’s 43rd annual UCT by edging second-place Roselle Park 187-185. The Panthers also finished second last year after third-place finishes behind Gov. Livingston in 2015 and 2016. Roselle Park last won the team title in 2014 and 2013 after Brearley won the crown seven straight seasons (2006-2012).

Cranford and Roselle Park will meet in Union County Conference-Watchung Division action Wednesday night at Roselle Park.

Savino and Cambronero, wrestling each other for the first time, both stayed on their feet in the first two minutes, which went scoreless. Savino then picked up a point in the first minute of the second period and then, with his Cranford faithful behind him, went for it.

“From top I wanted to get him down as quickly as possible,” Savino said. “This feels awesome.”

Savino first pinned Dan Olenick of Johnson in 3:13 and was then defeated by Vladimir Lee of Rahway 7-3 in the semifinals.

Savino then pinned Marion-Jan Afante of Union in 4:55 to advance to the third-place bout. There he halted Cambronero, also in a time recorded at 3:13.

The Outstanding Wrestler awards went to Union County’s state-ranked wrestlers, both of them winning a second straight (and overall) county championship.

Roselle Park junior Mark Montgomery, the 126 champion, was the OW for the lower weights (106-145). Montgomery finished second at 106 his freshman season two years ago and last year captured the 113 title.

Montgomery is presently ranked eighth in the state at 126.

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