WEST ORANGE- After earning a hard-fought 12-11 decision vs. Bergen Catholic’s Genti Idrizi in the 165-pound final at Region 3, Caldwell’s Lorenzo Caamano remained fully focused and still had his proverbial ‘game face’ on as he was eyeing his second straight trip to the NJSIAA state tournament in Atlantic City.
“Last year, while I knew that I was good enough to win matches against some great competition, I think in a way I was also just satisfied being there,” said the Chiefs’ 4-year varsity matman. “This time I’m going down there with a clear mission in mind to make a statement of showing just good a wrestler I am; and I’m determined to earn a place on the podium.”
Caamano, who is headed to wrestle at Division I Long Island University in the fall, is the Parisi Fairfield/Sideline Chatter Athlete of the Week following his Region 3 championship at West Orange’s Tarnoff gymnasium.
Now it’s on to historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for the NJSIAA state finals. The Chiefs’ standout senior (36-5) has been seeded ninth at 165 and will a familiar foe, 24th-seeded Nando Ott of Hanover Park in Thursday’s preliminary round.
Caamano earned an 8-5 decision vs. Ott in the Region 3 quarterfinals last Friday. The winner of Thursday’s state tourney preliminary round match will then meet the survivor of the bout between 25-Michael Fahmie of Whippany Park and 8-Cristian Giola of Governor Livingston in the pre-quarterfinals.
The top seed is Delbarton’s No. 1 ranked Alessio Perentin, while another clear title favorite is Cranford’s Region 4 champion Jordan Chapman.
Caamano, who went 1-2 in AC last year, is one of 24 Essex County wrestlers looking forward to proving themselves in the most prime-time setting in New Jersey high school wrestling where state title contenders such as Nutley’s undefeated heavyweight Brandon Toranzo (41-0) hope to still be alive in the tourney come Saturday’s championship bouts in Boardwalk Hall.
The road for a return trip to AC for Caamano has not been easy in the sense he has had to overcome adversity along the way such as a fractured nose he suffered earlier this season necessitating a mask to be worn up until last weekend’s Regions.
“It (wearing the mask) was holding me back a bit and just another thing I didn’t need so it was good to finally not wear it in the Regions,” said the Caldwell standout. “After wrestling poorly in the Districts (finishing as a runner-up), I wanted to show who I really am in the Regions and I think I did that.
“Now, it’s on to wrestle in the biggest matches of my career and I can’t wait to get down to Atlantic City to get going with the matches there.”
Caldwell head coach Sean Romano has been thrilled to have Caamano as one of his team leaders and a reliable force on the mats he can always count on.
“Lorenzo has been fantastic for us and wrestled great in the Regions,” said the Chiefs’ mat mentor. “We’re excited to see what he can do along with Carmine Sipper (106) as we head down to AC.”
Caamano said that he has benefitted a great deal from wrestling with his teammates and coaches in Caldwell’s wrestling room, including with former Caldwell state champ Steve Martell and former Delbarton star LJ Castellano.