MANALAPAN — A 19-year drought between district team championships came to an end for Manalapan on Saturday as the Braves crowned five champions en route to winning the NJSIAA District 21 Tournament for the first time since 1997.

Manalapan out-pointed district rival Colts Neck, 216.5 to 181.5, to claim the team championship and will advance 11 of its 14 wrestlers to the the NJSIAA Region VI Tournament. Matt Mustillo at 145, Ronny Ghaida at 152, Jake Staklinski at 170, Paul Santomarco at 106 and Kareem Ghaida at 120 each emerged from the field as individual champions.

Manalapan had five individual champions and 11 medal winners to win its first District 21 team title since 1997.

“One of the things we discussed was getting the team back up on the wall,” said Manalapan head coach Scott Pressman. “It’s been too long. Manalapan wrestling has a great history and the town deserves it. There’s a lot of people that put a lot into it.”

Kareem Ghaida’s comeback win over Bordentown’s Billy Moore was the highlight of the championship bouts as the sophomore rallied from a 5-0 deficit to pin Moore in sudden victory overtime. Ghaida scored two takedowns in the third period to tied the score at six and force overtime. In the one-minute sudden victory period, Ghaida countered a shot by Moore and threw him to his back where he finished off his first district title with a pin in 6:49.

“After the tying takedown, once I stepped back into the line I got a burst of energy and I knew he was dead tired,” Ghaida said. “He got in on a double and once I had the double under-hooks I knew what to go for.”


Brick Memorial senior Gianni Ghione won his third district title and was selected as District 21 Outstanding Wrestler.


Rivera needed to win just two bouts to become a four-time district champion and recorded pins in both. He needed just 59 seconds to win by fall over Colts Neck’s Vinnie Gargiulo in the final. Rivera, a two-time Region VI champion and a state finalist in 2015, is the sixth four-time district champion in Brick Memorial history.

Point Boro sophomore Billy Borowsky won the 195-pound title with a pin over Colts Neck’s A.J. Royle in 2:40. Also, Point Boro head coach Pat Brady was selected as the District 21 Coach of the Year and Point Boro assistant Brian Grainer was selected as District 21 Assistant Coach of the Year.

Point Boro head coach Pat Brady (left) and assistant Brian Grainer were selected as District 21 Coaches of the Year.

Point Boro finished 16-6 and won the Class B South division title.

“It’s about the kids and what they accomplished during the year; this is a team award,” Brady said. “We lost 24 people from the end of last year’s roster, so to come back and have the season they did is pretty impressive.”


Complete brackets

Teams Standings

1. Manalapan 216.5

2. Colts Neck 181.5

3. Point Boro 135.5

4. Bordentown 103.5

4. Brick Memorial 103.4

6. Burlington Township 99

7. Trenton 46

8. New Egypt 16

9. Burlington City 11


138: 3-Steven Kramer (Colts Neck) d. 4-Spencer Robinson (Point Boro) 3-2

145: 1-Matt Mustillo (Manalapan) p. 2-Ben Sammarco (Colts Neck) 3:33

152: 1-Ronny Ghaida (Manalapan) d. 2-Chris Richardson (Brick Memorial) 8-6

160: 1-Christian Hannigan (Burlington Twp.) p. 6-Joe Levach (Bordentown) 0:44

170: 1-Jake Staklinski (Manalapan) p. 6-Kenny Koenig (Colts Neck) 2:44

182: 2-Michael Jannucci (Colts Neck) d. 1-Justin Obermeyer (Manalapan) 9-2

195: 1-Billy Borowsky (Point Boro) p. 2-A.J. Royle (Colts Neck) 2:40

220: 2-Jajuan Hayes (Bordentown) p. 1-Eric Saunders (Burlington Twp) 0:36

HWT: 1-Nick Rivera (Brick Memorial) vs. 3-Vinnie Gargiulo (Colts Neck) 0:59

106: 2-Paul Santomarco (Manalapan) md. 1-Craig Cook (Burlington Township) 8-0

113: Joey King (Colts Neck) md. 2-Ben Sabo (Point Boro) 13-0

120: 2-Kareem Ghiada (Manalapan) p. 1-Billy Moore (Bordentown) 6:49

126: 1-Herbert Edwards (Trenton) vs. 2-Verslensky Joachim (Bordentown) 9-2

132: 1-Gianni Ghione (Brick Memorial) p. 3-Alex Baran (Manalapan) 4:19

Third Place

106: 4-Joe Rotundo (Brick Memorial) md. 6-James Latendorf (Point Boro) 14-2

113: 3-A.J. Sortino (Manalapan) d. 5-Michael Richardson (Brick Memorial) 4-2

120: 3-Alexander LoPrinzi (Burlington Twp.) d. 5-Tyler Tweedie (Point Boro) 7-5

126: 3-Dyon Womack (Colts Neck) d. 4-Ty Bailey (Point Boro) 10-5

132: 2-Matthew Potash (Bordentown) d. 4-Anthony Lombardo (Colts Neck) 5-0

138: 2-Anthony Coposky (Manalapan) d. 1-Kyle Leinheiser (Burlington Twp.) 10-4

145: 4-John McTaggert (Point Boro) md. 3-Michael Limone (Burlington Twp.) 18-7

152: 4-Dominick Esposito (Colts Neck) p. 3-Brandon Felkins (Burlington Township) 1:45

160: 4-Matt Benedetti (Manalapan) md. 7-Jared Marshall (Point Boro) 10-2

170: 2-Isaiah Wesley (Burlington City) d. 5-Brian Shawsam (Trenton) 11-6

182: 3-Dylan Ippolito (Point Boro) d. 5-Ron Hopping (Brick Memorial) 5-2

195: 4-Ryan Brazil (Bordentown) d. 6-Naze Washington (Trenton) 2-1

220: 6-Anthony Jomo (Manalapan) d. 6-Rayshawn Austell (Trenton) 8-3

HWT: 2-Anthony Bonavito (Point Boro) d. 4-Richie Peters (Manalapan) 3-1


Wrestling editor Bob Badders can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.


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