Wrestling at Verona High School started during the 1982-1983 season. During that first season the team only competed as a Junior Varsity team. Things took off quickly after that. In the second season Verona had it's first medalist at the District 8 championship. David Werner took third place at 188 lbs.
In 1991 Verona had its first District 8 champion with Kris Rauschenberg in the 275 lbs. weight class. The following year Verona moved to District 13 but it wasn't until 1999 that a Hillbilly took first place in the District 13. Viktor Mielands, at 275 lbs, brought home the gold.
The 1996 District 13 podium was trod upon by four Verona grapplers. Michael DeSantis (2nd,160lbs.), Louis Violante (2nd, 215lbs), Justin Mele (3rd, 103lbs.) and Joe Vece (3rd, 152lbs) were the proud medalists.
The 1999-2000 season saw Verona's first Essex County champion when Tom Cocchiola captured the title at 125 lbs. Another first that same season was Mielands repeat first place District win at 275 lbs. In yet another fist, Cocchiola and Mielands became the first Hillbillies to place in the Region. Cocchiola took bronze and Mielands took silver thus becoming the first Hillbillies to advance to the Super-Regions.
Don Morganroth's first year as head coach was during the 2002-2003 season. Capping that season was Tom Napolitano's gold at 112 lbs. at the 2003 District 13 championships after having taken third place the previous two seasons at 103 lbs. Napolitano was the first Hillbilly to capture three District medals.
Ryan Kirby, 189 lbs, seized the District 13 gold medal in 2006. Kirby's teammates chipped in to bring home a Verona all-time high of 5 medals. Contributing were Chris Hardenberg (2nd, 130lbs.), Joe Vivona (2nd,171lbs.), Mike Villarosa (3rd, 160lbs.) and Dillon Lawler (3rd, 215lbs.) Also in the 2005-2006 season, Lawler, a sophmore, was the first Hillbilly to win over thirty matches with a 32-7 record.
During the 2007 District 13 championship Rob Shabazian earned the top spot on the podium at 160 lbs. At the Region IV championship Chris Hardenberg and Dillon Lawler seized third place at 135lbs and 215lbs respectively and became the first wrestlers from Verona to advance to the State Championship in Atlantic City.
2008 was a landmark year for the Hillbillies; most notable was the month of February. On the 2nd, at the Essex County Tournament, three wrestlers went to the finals (Chris Hardenberg - 140lbs, Rob Shabazian - 160 lbs. and Dillon Lawler - 215 lbs). Previously, Verona had not had more than two finalists and had not had a champion since 2000. Hardenberg and Lawler brought home the county titles. Lawler became the first Hillbilly to capture three County medals.
During the Madison Quad on February 9, Lawler became the first Hillbilly to hit the 100 win mark. He was the only grappler in the Century Club for 90 minutes until he was joined by Hardenberg.
The Verona Wrestling Honors plaque was unveiled at the Verona Quad on February 16; in attendance were honorees Brendan Bush, Tom Cocchiola, Gerald DeLuisi, Michael DeSantis, Chris Hardenberg, Ryan Kirby, Dillon Lawler, Tom Napolitano, Kris Rauschenberger, Rob Shabazian, and Louis Violante.
At the District 13 Championship on February 24, Verona sent three wrestlers to the finals for the third consecutive year; capping the day was Head Coach Don Morganroth being named District 13 Coach of the Year.
On March 1, at the Region IV Championship, Hardenberg(140 lbs.) and Lawler(215 lbs.) each took third place and became the first Hillbillies to advance to the State Championship in Atlantic City for two consecutive years.
After loosing three key wrestlers to graduation, 2009 became the season of "smoke and mirrors." The Hillbillies won some key matches on their way to racking up their best record ever, 14-9. It was the first time the team broke .500 under the tutelage of Coach Morganroth. Their record caused them to be ranked 9th in Essex County. At the District 13 Championship Assistant John Alessio was named District Assistant Coach of the Year.To cap the season, sophmores Craig Cundari and Colin Farawell advanced to the Region IV Championship.
2010 was another year of firsts for the Verona wrestling program. For the first time in team history Verona was crowned league champs along with Millburn in the SEC-Liberty division.
At the Essex county tournament Verona had 1 finalist, Sean Shabazian  who placed 2nd. At the District 13 championships Verona crowned 2 champions, Sean Shabazian and Colin Farawell . Verona placed 5th overall in the district tournament. Another first in program history occured at the Region 4 tournament where Colin Farawell  became the first regional champion in school history qualifying for the state tournament in Atlantic City. At Atlantic City, Colin Farawell  became the first state placewinner in school history placing 8th, a tremendous accomplishment. The bar has now been set for individual and team accomplishments for the years to come.
Essex County Tournament Place Winners
District Place Winners
Region Place Winners
State Place Winners
If you have any changes or additions to this page please contact the webmaster.March 28, 2010