Lenape Valley wrestling has season to remember The Patriots finish March with heads held high

| 14 Mar 2012 | 03:11

    STANHOPE — Whether evaluating the program on a team or individual level, Lenape Valley High School had a wrestling season to be remembered for the right reasons. The Patriots faced some tough opposition, but they managed to stand up and battle it out on the mat from the first day of practice in November right through to March. On the team level, the Patriots finished right at the .500 level with an overall record of 12-12. They even made some considerable noise in the NJSIAA North I Group II Sectional Tournament, toppling third-seeded River Dell, 42-31, in the quarterfinals before losing to second seeded West Essex in the semifinals. High Point topped West Essex for the North I Group II Sectional crown. While veteran head coach Doug Vetter is pleased and impressed with some of the big victories won by the student-athlete’s on his roster, he's not very surprised. “We beat Belvidere who was voted a region top 10 team," Vetter said. “But perhaps our best team win was versus River Dell sectional tournament. It's nice to be the underdog and watch your team overcome the odds en route to victory." Leadership was in ample supply for the Patriots this season, something that made Vetter proud. “Team captains Matt Benvenuto and Andrew LaBell were consistent leaders all season long," Vetter said. “Dominic LaBell and Joe LaBell demonstrated extreme toughness in every match throughout the season, and standout freshmen Peter Lipari and Glenn Haines each produced over 30 victories showcasing the talent they have to offer in the years ahead." Haines placed second in the Region 1 Tournament at 120 pounds and advanced to the State Championship at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Though he lost in the first round, Haines had an overall season mark of 33-7. Benvenuto, a junior, placed fourth in Region 1 at 126 pounds and had an overall season record of 34-6. Andrew LaBell had a senior year record of 32-9, competing in the post-season at 170 pounds. Vetter said that senior Magnum Velard stood out on the team by continually improving throughout the course of the season. “Velard gave this team everything he had," Vetter said. “He improved by leaps and bounds, and he contributed to the team's overall success. Kristian Barrett was another member of the team who improved tremendously. He wrestled JV last year and finished this season 16-11."