Shore Sports Network Wrestling Top 10, 1/17/17
It was a topsy-turvy week in the Shore Conference with plenty of interesting results and news that has the latest Shore Sports Network Top 10 in flux.
The top five remain the same, however, as there’s little debate at the summit. Top-ranked Howell continued to roll with six more wins and has all but locked up another Class A North division title. Southern cruised in its only dual of the week before testing its meddle at one of the regions top tournaments, while Raritan went 3-0 with a win over another ranked team to solidify the top three. Middletown North remained unbeaten with a 4-0 week, including a thriller over Brick Memorial, while Colts Neck won three more matches sandwiched around a loss to No. 1 Howell.
After that things are less clear, and that’s more or less been the theme of the season. Wall has a ton of holes and has routinely forfeited several weights, as was the case in a loss to Ocean. St. John Vianney was in similar shape albeit without the forfeits, but the Lancers were dealt two huge blows with a season-ending injury to Luke Ecklof and Micah Clark leaving early for college.
Ironically the team that made the jump to No. 6 is Jackson Memorial, which has an under .500 record. Jackson has wrestled a brutal schedule so far with five of its losses coming to teams currently or that were at the time ranked in the state top 20 however,. They also have a win over Brick Memorial, which looks better as time goes on.
Long Branch and Manalapan have been solid so far as each team has just two losses with both coming to ranked teams. Ocean gets the nod at No. 10 thanks to its win over previous No. 6 Wall.
1. Howell (15-1). Last week: No. 1
The Rebels went 6-0 with wins over No. 9 Manalapan, Allentown, No. 5 Colts Neck, Robbinsville, Riverside and Northern Burlington to keep a firm hold on the top spot in the Shore. The wins over Manalapan and Colts Neck cleared major hurdles for Howell to clinch a 12th straight Class A North division title. Junior 132-pounder Dan Esposito and freshman 170 Shane Reitsma are each 14-0 to lead a lineup that features 10 wrestlers with at least 10 wins. This week: Wednesday vs. Neptune; Saturday at Chase Life Invitational in Florida.
2. Southern (7-1). Last week: No. 2
The Rams won their lone dual of the week in blowout fashion, toppling Central 73-3, before competing at the prestigious Escape the Rock Tournament in Pennsylvania. Sophomore Nick O’Connell finished sixth at 145 pounds and senior Seon Bowker placed seventh at 182 pounds, helping the Rams place 21st as a team in a loaded field. Bowker is a team-best 18-2 while O’Connell upped his record to 17-5. This week: Tuesday vs. No. 6 Jackson Memorial; Saturday vs. Brick and South Plainfield.
3. Raritan (14-1). Last week: No. 3
The Rockets defeated Matawan, No. 8 Long Branch and CBA to run their winning streak to seven. Sophomore 113 Charles Barrale improved to 13-0 while junior 138 Russell Benson and sophomore 170 George Burdick moved to 16-1 and junior 220 Ethan Wolf upped his record to 15-1. This week: Wednesday at St. John Vianney.
4. Middletown North (12-0). Last week: No. 4
The Lions are one of just nine undefeated teams in New Jersey and kept their perfect record intact with a 4-0 week headlined by a thrilling 32-29 win over No. 7 Brick Memorial. Middletown North showed its depth when it swept Saturday’s quad with Brick Memorial, Delran and Cedar Grove without two starters. Senior 182 Tom Anderson was out with an illness and junior Austin Dewise is still getting his weight back down to 220 after being out two weeks. Junior 145 Stanley Wojdylak has been on a tear and is now 16-2. Junior 170 Nicko Cofone is 13-2 and senior 195 Brian Winz is 13-3. The freshman tandem of Tyler Klinsky (16-1) at 106 and Fred Luchs (15-2) at 113 has been a huge addition. This week: Wednesday vs. Manasquan; Friday at Middletown South; Saturday vs. Wayne Hills, Westwood and Garfield.
5. Colts Neck (18-1). Last week: No. 5
It was a tough week for the Cougars, who saw three starters exit their lineup and then suffered their first loss of the season in a 48-21 loss to No. 1 Howell. Colts Neck was able to respond and sweep a triangular match with Point Boro and Buena, and the Cougars also had a win over Westfield earlier in the week. Junior 113 Joey King is 18-0, senior 138 Steven Kramer is 16-3, senior 152 Dominick Esposito is 16-2 and sophomore 182 Michael Jannucci is 13-2 to lead the way. This week: Tuesday vs. CBA; Thursday at Bishop Ahr; Saturday vs. Marlboro, Neptune and Freehold Township.
6. Jackson Memorial (5-6). Last week: No. 8
The Jaguars went 2-2 yet moved up two spots. How so? Jackson defeated Toms River South, 61-9, and Vineland, 60-6, and lost to DePaul and Monroe. Plus, last week’s No. 6 and No. 7 teams, Wall and St. John Vianney, have dropped out of the rankings. Jackson lost 34-30 to DePaul, which was ranked No. 4 in the state at the time before Monroe beat them. Jackson lost to Monroe, 33-32, in a match that was decided in the final bout. Region champ Matt McGowan is 15-2, but it has been the emergence of sophomore Vinnie Scollo (15-2) at 106, sophomore Carsten DiGiantomasso (13-5) at 126, senior Dan Bergeron (16-4) at 160 and junior Dave Lemay (16-2) at 220 that have kept the Jaguars in contention. This week: Tuesday at No. 2 Southern; Wednesday vs. Toms River North; Saturday vs. Central, Jackson Liberty and Lakewood.
7. Brick Memorial (7-3). Last week: No. 8
The Mustangs went 4-1 withe their lone loss coming to No. 4 Middletown North, 32-29, in a match that came down to the final bout. Along the way Brick Memorial defeated Brick 34-21, won the “Kiley Cup” with a 39-23 victory over Old Bridge and defeated Cedar Grove and Delran in the quad with Middletown North. Seniors Gianni Ghione (17-0) at 132 and Nick Rivera (17-0) at heavyweight have been unstoppable. Ghione has a chance to reach 100 pins for his career and currently has 86 wins by fall. Senior Chris Richardson is 14-3 at 152 pounds and junior Willie Garner has stepped in at 220 with a 12-3 mark. This week: Wednesday vs. Garfield; Friday at Toms River South; Saturday vs. Toms River East, Vineland and West Deptford.
8. Long Branch (11-2). Last week: No. 10
The only blemish for the Green Wave last week was a 41-19 setback to No. 3 Raritan. Long Branch bounced back with wins over Red Bank Catholic, Marlboro, Lacey and St. John Vianney, the latter of which was ranked No. 7 at the time. Senior 126 Carlos Irizarry leads the team with a 16-4 record while freshman 106 Ryan Zimmerman, sophomore 152 Luke Arnold and junior 195 Pete Wersinger each have 15 wins. Junior 120 Chris Dean is 14-3. This week: Wednesday at Wall; Saturday at Jack Welch Duals.
9. Manalapan (9-2). Last week: not ranked
The Braves went 2-1 with a loss to Howell and wins over Sayreville and Toms River East, moving into the rankings to fill one of the voids left by Wall and St. John Vianney. Manalapan has a balanced lineup with 10 double-digit bout winners. Sophomore 106 Paul Santomarco leads the team with a 14-2 record while seniors Ronny Ghaida (152), Jake Staklinski (170) and Justin Obermeyer (182) are each 13-2. This week: Tuesday at Marlboro; Saturday vs. Paramus, Ramapo and Mahwah.
10. Ocean (9-2). Last week: not ranked
Ocean moves into the rankings after a 3-0 week that included a 47-33 win over then-No. 6 Wall. The Spartans then edged Allentown, 36-35, and topped Matawan, 46-28, to sweep a triangular match. Ocean’s losses this season are to No. 4 Middletown North and No. 8 Long Branch. A strong core of lower weights has led the way, spearheaded by junior Jake Benner (16-1) at 138. Benner’s only loss is up at 145 pounds to Middletown North’s Stanley Wojdylak. Freshman 120 Alex Poniros is 16-1, freshman 106 Jack Nies is 14-4 and senior 132 Nick Villapiano is 11-2. Senior 220 Clayton Oates has led the upper weights with a 12-4 record. This week: Wednesday vs. Toms River East; Saturday vs. Freehold, Pinelands and Manchester.
Dropped out: Wall (6), St. John Vianney (7)
Teams to watch:
Brick (10-1): The Dragons went 4-1 with wins over Moorestown, Penns Grove, Pemberton and Toms River East and a loss to No. 7 Brick Memorial. Senior 132 Dave Santiago is 17-0, senior 182 Dean Helstowski is 14-0 and senior 160 Anthony Costanza is 16-1. This week: Wednesday at Toms River South; Saturday vs. No. 2 Southern.
Point Beach (10-0): The Garnet Gulls remained one of New Jersey’s nine unbeaten teams with a 6-0 week, defeating Nottingham, Hightstown, Freehold Township, Toms River East, Carteret and Middletown South. Senior 182 Jack Baker and senior 138 Roddy Rupp are 14-1, junior 152 Jimmy Sherlock is 15-1, junior 106 Will Jarvis and junior 126 Jude Lovgren are 14-2, freshman 145 Jason Sherlock is 12-2 and senior heavyweight Cade Watkins is 13-3. Wednesday’s match against Shore will decide the Class B Central championship. This week: Wednesday at Shore; Thursday at Keansburg; Saturday vs. Manasquan, Maple Shade and Steinert.
Point Boro (6-4): The Panthers went 3-2 with Class B South wins over Manchester, Barnegat and Lacey to all but lock up the division title before falling to No. 5 Colts Neck and Buena. Freshman 126 Ty Bailey and junior heavyweight Anthony Bonavito are tied for the team lead in wins with 10. This week: Wednesday at Lakewood; Thursday at Donovan Catholic; Saturday vs. Toms River South, Old Bridge and Shawnee.
Wrestling 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.