Rival athletes join forces Thursday night to take on their toughest opponent on “Pin Cancer Night” at West Morris Central. Chatham and WMC wrestlers compete on the mat at 7 pm (6 pm JV), but join together for a cure through Pin Cancer, a nonprofit started by wrestlers whose mothers contracted the dread disease (www.pincancer.org).
The Long Valley Youth Wrestling Program will concurrently wrestle powerhouse rival South Plainfield, on adjacent mats.
The event’s importance isn’t lost on the WMC Wolfpack, who will sport Pin Cancer singlets.
“When I go out on Thursday I dedicate the match to my friend Glenn Lightner and my grandmother Barbara Nitko who both suffered from cancer,” said Ben Yaskulka. “Hopefully events like this will help keep tragic stories like Glenn’s from happening again and help people like my grandmother to keep fighting strong.”
Thomas Stoll dedicates the match “to my grandfather whose cancer is now in remission and has been an inspiration throughout my wrestling career. Whenever I wrestle, he is in the back of my mind and I want to make him proud.”
Ben Piraneo honors “my grandmother on my Dad’s side who passed from cancer before I had a chance to meet her.”
“My grandfather had lung cancer which took his life in 2004,” said Caleb Isemann. “My Grandpa was very strong throughout his illness and I am sure all of my family would want to dedicate this match to him.”
Nick Stanzione recognizes “my friend’s Mom Diane Somers who got breast cancer last year and is still going through treatment to get better.”
Michael Oros honors “my Grandma Oros who is a cancer survivor. I am very close to my Grandma and remember her struggles and strength while battling cancer. Her victory over cancer is an inspiration and gives me strength on and off the mat.”
Team captain Jesse Windt said, “Cancer is something that many people have struggled with. I hope my friends and family come out to support the cause and this respected nonprofit organization.”
“I'm inspired to be a part of Pin Cancer Night,” said Greg Ierokomos. “I know it will be an inspired match from our lineup and I hope the community will reciprocate our passion.”
Pin Cancer was started in the fall of 2011 by former Kittatinny wrestler Dan Tramontozzi, in honor of his mother who is currently battling cancer. Tramontozzi realized his Mom’s fight was bigger than any wrestling match. He founded Pin Cancer to “unite the toughest sport in the world to help bring down its toughest opponent,” according to the website.
Dan Gable and Jordan Oliver are among the legendary wrestlers to rock Pin Cancer gear, the sale of which raised $5,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital last month.
Tramontozzi, who also heads NJ Wrestling Academy, said “I've worked with most of the WMC team which makes this event extra special. It's nice to see both teams come together for a bigger cause.”
“Pin Cancer is an exceptionally important organization,” concluded Oros. “I hope members of the community come out for an important cause while watching a great match.”
Wolfpack goes 2-2
WMC split four matches this week. At Morristown Thursday it came down to the final bout before WMC fell 38-33. Then WMC won two out of three at Saturday’s home quad, defeating North Warren 40-30, falling 45-24 to Warren Hills, and then defeating rival Hackettstown 33-30. The team is 6-6 on the season.
Windt (16-1), Dylan Luciano (14-3) and Shane Metzler (14-4) were dominant on the week, each going 4-0. Metzler pinned his four opponents in less than five minutes combined. Windt pinned three and took a forfeit, scoring six team points (the maximum) for the 10th consecutive match. Luciano also pinned three, including North Warren’s state qualifier Matty Ritchie, who was 12-3.
David Migliaccio contributed three wins on the week, with John Schade, Christian Trimarchi, Michael Oros and Caleb Isemann each pitching in two. Kade Loughney, Ben Yaskulka, Aldo Cammalleri and Taylor Parkinson-Gee also contributed points for the Wolfpack.
Tonight (Tuesday) the team travels to Mendham. Then after Thursday’s home Pin Cancer Night match against Chatham, the Wolfpack travels to Delaware Valley to take on Del Val, Kittatinny and Westfield Saturday.
Visit the team’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WMCwrestling.