Highlanders 5th in wrestling tournament

WEST MILFORD. Benjamin Marchetto and Spencer Ribitzki win gold medals.

| 20 Feb 2024 | 11:37

Benjamin Marchetto and Spencer Ribitzki each brought home gold medals to pace the West Milford High School wrestling team to a fifth-place finish at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) District 4 tournament Saturday afternoon, Feb. 17 at High Point in Sussex.

Marchetto won the 144-pound title with a 17-6 major decision over High Point’s Michael Tidona, while Ribitzki defeated Gavin Mericle of High Point, 9-3, for the 285-pound championship.

Tyler Martinez finished second at 106 pounds as did Colin Menier at 132 pounds. Other place-winners for the Highlanders included Jake Pasek (fourth at 157 pounds) and Ryan Tartarilla (fourth at 215).

The top three place-winners at each weight class advanced to the Region 1 tournament that West Milford will host Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24.

The top four place-winners in each weight class in each of the eight regions then qualify for the NJSIAA state tournament Feb. 29-March 2 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Here’s how other West Milford teams fared last week:

Indoor track

Noah Traverso finished third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 51.02 and was seventh in the 55-meter dash in 6.91 and Chloe Brijbag was sixth in the shot put with a throw of 35-3.5 to highlight West Milford’s showing at the NJSIAA Group 2 tournament Feb. 17 in Toms River.

Other competitors included Ciara Clinton, who was 13th in the 1600-meter run in 5:33.58 and 18th in the 3200-meter run in 12:29.61, and Madison Freideman, who was 14th in the high jump with an effort of 4-10.

The boys 4x400 relay team placed 16th with a time of 3:43.68.

Ice hockey

The West Milford-Pequannock-Pompton Lakes tri-op squad is seeded fifth in the NJSIAA Public North Co-Op Tournament and is scheduled to play 12th-seeded Nutley-Columbia-Bloomfield in a first-round game Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne.

If the Highlanders (13-7) prevail, they would advance to the quarterfinal round Friday, Feb. 23.

Boys basketball

West Milford (11-14) is seeded 11th for the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 1, Group 2 tournament and is scheduled to play at sixth-seeded High Point in a first-round game Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Junior Ognjen Ljusic leads the team in scoring with a 13.4 average.

Girls basketball

The Highlanders are seeded 10th and are slated to play at seventh-seeded Elmwood Park in a NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 1, Group 2 tournament game Feb. 21.

West Milford (13-10) has been led offensively this season by Avery Vacca (11.3 points per game) and Sarah Benowitz (8.3 ppg).


The 11th-seeded Highlanders bowed to sixth-seeded Sussex Tech, 2-0, in the first round of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 1, Group 2 tournament Feb. 14 at Sparta Lanes.

West Milford (7-8) was paced by Mike McCloskey (387 high series, 230 high game), Roberto Sanchez (292 series, 190 game), Rebecca Sledge (236 series, 136 game), Jaden Foster (229 series, 127 game) and Glenn Dowson (227 series, 138 game).