HACKENSACK — Donny and Alex Almeyda don’t share a room, but they will forever share a place in the Bergen County wrestling history book.
The powerful brother combination from St. Joseph Regional became the first brother tandem to win county titles the same year since 1998 on the first day of the Bergen County Wrestling Tournament on Saturday at Hackensack High School.
Due to COVID concerns and looking to alter the format a bit, the BCCA organizers ran the first seven weight classes Saturday and will run the next seven Sunday.
Alex, a senior, cruised to a 24-9 victory in the 138-pound final, while Donny, a freshman, held off Mason Ketcham (Don Bosco) 7-4 to claim the title at 120 pounds.
The BCCA online history page will list the Almeydas as the 21st set of brothers all-time to win county titles. The last to win championships on the same day were Ryan and Steve Hult from Pascack Valley in 1998. Prior to that, same-year brother championships only happened three times.
“I know it’s happened,” Green Knights coach Tom Farinaro said. “You know I go back to the days of Pascack Hills and the Catalfo brothers [who both won titles in 1976]. Now the Almeydas.”
Alex was expected to be in the mix, but the anticipated match-up with Bergen Catholic standout Joe Cangro never took place with Cangro having to take himself out of the tournament Saturday with an ankle sprain.
“We have had some battles,” Alex said. “I was preparing for him. It stinks that he got injured. Hopefully, he’s OK so we can wrestle on Friday.”
St. Joe’s and Bergen Catholic are scheduled for a dual meet on Friday.
Cangro’s absence opened up the bracket for Alex, who took advantage. He won his first match via second-period pin, then got a tech fall in the quarterfinals. He got another bit of a break when Louden Mazzeo (Emerson/Park Ridge) couldn’t wrestle in the semis.
In the final, Alex was on Jake Wacha (Demarest) from the start, attacking from different angles and finishing off a 24-9 tech fall win late in the third period.
“I just wanted to go out there and score as many points as possible,” Alex said. “Get to my offense and have fun.”
Donny’s day started with a pin in the Round of 16, then a major decision over Joseph Cappello (Paramus Catholic). In the semis, Donny pinned Adam Albino (Bogota/Ridgefield Park) in the second period and set up to face Ketcham for the second time this season.
Donny got the first takedown and kept Ketcham at bay, including fighting him off just before the second-period buzzer when Ketcham was close to two. At the final whistle, Donny clapped his hands once in celebration.
Alex has gotten used to having his little brother around and said he’s glad he’s in the Green Knights wrestling room.
“We have the talent in the room to get him better. I like it," he said. "My job as an older brother is to make him the best version of himself.”
Farinaro said both wrestlers are different, but chalked it up to experience, saying Alex thinks a few moves ahead, while Donny just attacks. Farinaro also knows the end result.
“They both win.”
Darren Cooper is a high school sports columnist for NorthJersey.com. For full access to live scores, breaking news and analysis from our Varsity Aces team, subscribe today. To get breaking news directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter and download our app.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Almeyda brothers win titles at Bergen County Wrestling Tournament