Shore Sports Network 2017-2018 Wrestler of the Year: Toms River South’s Cole Corrigan
Cole Corrigan always envisioned himself one day becoming a New Jersey wrestling state champion but entering his senior year his dreams had yet to become reality.
Corrigan had been one of the Shore’s best pound-for-pound wrestlers over the last three seasons, but, aside from a somewhat fortuitous seventh-place finish as a sophomore, the state tournament had been his kryptonite. This year he made his way to Atlantic City with an undefeated record and one thing on his find: finishing the job.
Armed with a new mental approach and a sharpened skill set, Corrigan captured the 152-pound NJSIAA title with a 5-4 victory over Phillipsburg’s Brian Meyer, becoming Toms River South’s eighth state champion and ending his career at the very top. He finished the season 40-0 and as the only Shore Conference wrestler to win a state championship, making him the clear selection as the 2018 Shore Sports Network Wrestler of the Year.
Corrigan entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed and defeated Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s Jack Cannon, 9-1, in the first round before pinning DePaul’s Connor O’Neil in 58 seconds to reach the quarterfinals. He broke through to reach his first state semifinal and clinch at least a top-six finish by topping Paulsboro’s George Worthy, 3-2. Clinching all-state status was the first goal, but Corrigan wasn’t done yet. Ewing’s Lavinsky Collins stunned top-seeded Gerard Angelo in the quarterfinals and now stood in Corrigan’s way, and Corrigan delivered a 3-0 shutout to reach the state championship bout.
In the state final it was Corrigan using a move he rarely pulls off – a cradle – for a huge set of three near-fall points in the third period. The hold gave him a 5-2 lead and he was able to hold off Meyer late to secure the state title.
Corrigan’s season got going with a first-place finish at the Walter Woods Tournament and picked up steam from there. He won the Elizabeth Minutemen Tournament for the second time and then won a Shore Conference title at the inaugural Shore Conference Individual Championships. He cruised to the District 28 title for his fourth district crown and was untested at the Region 7 Tournament where he secured his second region championship.
Toms River South did not have the team success it has had in recent years, so Corrigan flew under the radar until the individual postseason began. A closer look at the statistics shows just how dominant he was. Corrigan finished the season with 21 pins, two technical falls and five major decisions along with three wins by forfeit.
Corrigan’s career is one of the best in Toms River South history. He is one of three Indians wrestlers to win four district championships (B.J. Clagon and Owen McClave are the others) and the 13th Toms River South wrestler to claim multiple region championships. His 141 wins are the third most in Toms River South history behind Clagon (155) and McClave (149).
Corrigan will continue his career at Columbia University. With him, he’ll bring memories of a great high school career, one that ended with his hand raised in the middle of the center mat in Boardwalk Hall. It was a dream come to life.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.