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Queen Of Peace Needs A Bus For A.C.

March 2, 2008

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Last Updated Sunday March 2, 2008, EST 6:42 AM BY DARREN COOPERSTAFF WRITER WEST ORANGE -- Queen of Peace is the king of Region 4.

The Golden Griffins will have to take a bus to Atlantic City for the State tournament, as their traveling party will have three regional champions and five runners-up.

Frank Cagnina, a reigning State champion, won the 112-pound title and teammate Matt Fusco won his showdown with James Soprano of Belleville in the 125-pound final, 5-1.

"From the beginning of the year, we set goals, not as a team, just as individuals. I told the kids, lets put the team stuff aside, whatever happens with that happens," said Golden Griffins coach Scot Weaver. "If we get eight, 10, 12 kids in the region finals, that means we had a pretty good dual season, too."

In one of the best bouts of the finals. senior 140-pounder Mike Trasso defeated defending champion Ryan Dunphy of Passaic Valley, 6-1, in overtime.

Dunphy picked up Trasso three times and had him literally head over heels, but when he did it in the first overtime, Trasso caught Dunphy on the way down for a match-winning, five-point move.

"He has great offense," said Trasso, a Lyndhurst resident. "But my defense is pretty good. Toward the end, when he got me on his back, I caught him in a scramble. Thats what I do best."

It was hard to ignore that most of the 1,600 fans in attendance at West Orange were rooting against the Golden Griffins, whose season was surrounded by controversy since Weaver left St. Mary to head up the program at the school this winter.

"Thats their problem; they are just jealous," said Trasso. "We have an amazing team [that] works really hard, Coach Weaver works us out real hard and we have a bunch of kids who do everything they can to be successful."

"I think it gives us more fire that everyone wants us to lose," said Cagnina, who transferred from Bergen Catholic.

Noting that Trasso was jeered when announced as regional champion, Cagnina added, "I think its a shame that everyone did that, because it was a great match, and Mike came out on top and that should have got a round of applause, not boos."

Passaic County Tech junior Vince Perry won his first regional title just by raising his hand. Perry, a 135-pounder, won via injury default when Queen of Peaces Glen Cannici chose to sit out to rest an arm injury.

North Bergen senior Bob Dabal pinned Zach Kane of Livingston in 35 seconds to become only the fifth wrestler to win four regional titles. He also won the Most Outstanding Wrestler award after winning by pin all three of his bouts at the tournament.

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