The Cape Atlantic League (CAL) historically has produced outstanding wrestling teams, which, in some cases, gain national attention for their successes on the mat.
Yearly, the Lower Cape May wrestling program is determined to face tough competition.
Bill Damiana, head coach for the Tigers, was a successful wrestler himself, while attending Lower Cape May, having won two NJSIAA district titles and twice placing seventh at the state tournament in Atlantic City.
Several accomplished student-athletes return for Lower Cape May, including Joelle Klein (senior), Cameron Leslie (senior), Jonas Lumbruno (senior), Devon Bohn (junior), Sean Connelly (junior), Matt Craig (junior), David Tosto (junior), Wesley Tosto (junior), Mikey Castellano (sophomore) and Braydon Castillo (sophomore).
Newcomers to the varsity level include Christian Campanaro (junior), Connor Eckel (junior), Eric Konczyk (junior), Zach Shutter (junior) and Marcus Hebron (sophomore).
“Leaders of our team will be Jonas Lumbruno, Wesley Tosto, Braydon Castillo, Cam Leslie, Sean Connelly and Joelle Klein,’’ Damiana said. “All are extremely hard working and have displayed their talents, both on the football field as well as the wrestling mat, during my tenure at Lower Cape May.
“Joelle Klein returns as the second-ranked female in her weight class in the state,’’ Damiana said. “She is the returning South Region female champion, and looks to repeat as champion, also avenging her third-place finish in the state tournament.
"Braydon Castillo set a few freshman records for our storied program, and looks to build on that with a state tournament berth. Wesley Tosto was the team’s only district finalist last year, and the only two-time region qualifier, as he looks to get a berth to Atlantic City.
"Marcus Hebron, who is a Middle Township transfer, was a match away from qualifying for Atlantic City last year, and looks to get himself over the hump. Sean Connelly, Matt Craig and Cam Leslie all missed region’s last year, by one match. They look for redemption heading into the season.’’
Lower Cape May wrestles in the CAL National Division, along with Holy Spirit, Cedar Creek, Buena, St. Joseph’s (Hammonton), Middle Township and Oakcrest.
The Tigers will compete in a tournament at Gateway High School Dec. 21.
“[We want to] compete for a Cape Atlantic League title, make the playoffs, set a few school records throughout the season and perform to the best of our abilities,’’ Damiana said.
Last winter, the Tigers finished with a 15-10 record.
“This year, in the Cape Atlantic League, we believe we can put ourselves in position to be a contender,’’ Damiana said. “Buena, Oakcrest and Middle Township are all tough teams within the division this year.’’