On Feb. 23 at Jackson Liberty High School,site of the Region 6 wrestling tournament, Joey Lamparelli did what he was supposed to do.
The Allentown High School junior won the 113-pound Region 6 championship when he decisioned Middletown High School North’s Thomas O’Keefe, 9-3, in the title bout.
The result gave Lamparelli his second straight Region 6 championship after he had won the 106-pound class a year ago.
Lamparelli, the No. 1 seed this year, also won his first two matches in the 113-pound bracket this past weekend by major decision and technical fall.
The junior was happy after his victory, but stoic, too. He was just taking care of business at Jackson Liberty.
Lamparelli’s bigger goal is something he didn’t accomplish last year: winning the state tournament championship.
The state tournament will be wrestled this Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 28 through March 2, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
“It’s exciting to win the region but I have bigger aspirations,” Lamparelli said.
Lamparelli was actually more excited about a teammate’s region title than his own.
“Our 100-pound girl wrestler, Jasmine (Aizley), she’s going to states, too,” Lamparelli said.
The NJSIAA sanctioned girls’ wrestling for the first time this winter. In Atlantic City, a girls’ state tournament will take place alongside the boys’ championship at Boardwalk Hall.
Allentown’s only female wrestler, Aizley, is taking full advantage of this new opportunity. On Feb. 17 at Red Bank Regional High School, Aizley won the 100-pound championship in the NJSIAA South Regional Tournament, an event just for female wrestlers.
In her regional title bout, Aizley pinned her opponent in 2:50. With the victory, she earned a trip to Atlantic City. The junior will enter the tournament with a 13-0 record against girls this winter.
“Hopefully I end up 15-0 and on top of the podium,” she said.
Aizley played soccer growing up. She tried wrestling in eighth grade to work on her conditioning for the beautiful game.
“But once I started, I really got into it and didn’t want to stop,” Aizley said. “Wrestling has taken over my life.”
The Cranbury native chose to attend Allentown High School because of its strong wrestling program. She also wanted to drill with Lamparelli, a talented wrestler near her weight class.
Now, Aizley and Lamparelli spar together regularly. Lamparelli’s aggressive style has pushed Aizley to attack her opponents in matches.
“He pushes me to get better,” Aizley said. “He’s always trying to score, and now I’m always thinking about the next point.”
Drilling with her male counterpart has also improved Aizley’s scrambling ability. When he’s not attacking, Lamparelli darts around the mat, looking for his next opportunity.
Aizley does the same thing, and it has tired out her opponents. The junior has not allowed any points on back moves or reversals this winter.
Aizley can control and finish matches. She is basically the female Lamparelli.
“I’m trying to stay really dominant,” Aizley said. “I want to stay undefeated for the rest of my high school career.”
Aizley is not just an elite high school wrestler, either. She is a pioneer.
Outside of school, the Allentown standout wrestles at the Triumph Wrestling Club in Ocean Township and at the Rhino Wrestling Club in Morganville. Younger female wrestlers attend both clubs.
They know what Aizley is doing at the high school level. And when she walks into the clubs, they surround her and speak with her about it.
“They tell me they want to be like me,” Aizley said.