Shore Sports Network Wrestling Top 10, 1/19/15
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Another week, another shakeup in the Shore Sports Network Wrestling Top 10.
It’s never a surprise when Class A South delivers thrilling matches, and Toms River South won another edge-of-your-seat dual this past Wednesday when it downed then-No. 4 Southern, 24-23. Freshman Nick Gallichio won by decision in the final bout at 113 pounds to clinch it for the Indians, who won eight bouts and won despite having to forfeit at 106 pounds. They finally have their full lineup together, and they’re proving just how dangerous they are.
The rest of the Top 10 remains basically unchanged, save for some shuffling based on Toms River South’s win. There were a handful of other matchups between ranked teams, and the pecking order held true with No. 2 Brick Memorial topping No. 6 Brick and the Dragons beating then-No. 10 Middletown North. No. 4 CBA also bested the Lions in junior Chad Freshnock’s return to the lineup for Middletown North. Long Branch and then-unranked Raritan turned in another classic with the Green Wave winning with a pin by Joey Jasio in the final bout.
Top-ranked Howell continued to roll, as well, while No. 3 Jackson Memorial won a pair of matches against tough nonconference opponents to continue its surge. No. 9 Wall continues to get healthy, and when junior Brett Donner finally returns to the lineup the Crimson Knights are going to be a tough out for anyone.
Plenty of big matches are on tap for this week, none bigger than the titanic meeting between Brick Memorial and Jackson Memorial on Wednesday. The Mustangs have a huge week in front of them, and with the Shore Conference Tournament right around the corner, it will be interesting to see how everything shapes up.
1. Howell (15-0). Last week: No. 1
The Rebels defeated Freehold Township 59-15 in A North and also beat nonconference opponents West Essex, 64-6, and a Monroe team ranked No. 3 in the Greater Middlesex Conference, 59-9, to keep rolling along. Twelve of of Howell’s starters have double-digit wins, led by undefeated freshman Kyle Slendorn, who is 17-0 at 106 pounds. Junior Nick Ciaccia continues to impress (14-3 at 126) in his first year as a varsity starter, and junior Kris Lindemann is doing everything expected from a returning state medalist in building a 15-2 record at 138 pounds. The Rebels travel to Middletown North on Wednesday and host Marlboro on Thursday where wins would officially wrap up their 10th straight Class A North division title. They also host a triangular meet with Old Bridge and No. 6 Long Branch on Saturday.
2. Brick Memorial (9-1). Last week: No. 2
A 37-20 victory over No. 5 Brick was the crown jewel of a 4-0 week that saw the Mustangs also defeat Toms River East 51-7 and blitz Collingswood, 59-13, and St. Joseph (Montvale) 53-15. Seniors Rob and Cliff Ruggiero had two mega wins against Brick with Rob edging Nick Pollara, 6-4 in sudden victory, in tremendous bout at 152 pounds before Cliff handed Will Scott his first loss, 8-6, at 160 pounds, to fuel to the victory over their crosstown rival that delivered sole possession of first place in A South. Nine wrestlers have reached 10 wins, led by undefeated sophomore Nick Rivera (15-0 at heavyweight) and sophomore Gianni Ghione (16-1 at 113), senior Alec Donovan (16-1 at 145) and Cliff Ruggiero (16-2 at 160). The Mustangs have a huge week in front of them, starting with a home match on Wednesday against No. 3 Jackson Memorial. They then travel to No. 8 Southern on Friday and head to state No. 2 Bound Brook for a quadrangular meet with the Crusaders, state-ranked Don Bosco Prep and Cranford.
3. Jackson Memorial (11-2). Last week: No. 3
The Jaguars enjoyed a 4-0 week that included a 62-12 Class A South win over Lacey, a 52-13 win over rival Jackson Liberty and a sweep of a triangular meet against tough Paramus (36-24) and South Plainfield (39-21) squads. Sophomore 138 Tim Hamann had a pair of big wins over the weekend in defeating Paramus’ Brandon Loftis, 1-0 in double overtime, and besting South Plainfield’s Dan Hedden, a returning state qualifier, 8-6 in sudden victory. The Jags have 10 wrestlers with double-digit wins - five with 15 or more - led by senior heavyweight Brody Graham. Graham has been a pinning machine this year with a 19-0 record. Senior Connor Bohringer is also undefeated with an 11-0 record at 182 pounds. The Jaguars take on No. 2 Brick Memorial in a colossal A South match on Wednesday, host Toms River East on Friday and then host a quad with Scotch Plains, Hanover park and No. 5 CBA on Saturday.
4. Christian Brothers Academy (12-2). Last week: No. 5
The Colts pushed their record to 12-2 with A North wins over Marlboro (51-19) and Middletown North (39-19), while also defeating Bridgewater-Raritan, 55-19. Their balanced lineup has been led by undefeated juniors Sebastian Rivera (113) and Dylan VanSickell (126), who are both 19-0. Freshman Rich Koehler has been great with 17 wins at 106, and Oxley is 16-2 at 220. CBA has a convincing win over No. 5 Brick and has only lost to No. 1 Howell within the conference. Its 31-30 loss to Cranford was puzzling at the time, but the Colts were without Will Oxley and Cranford might be better than we all though having just won the Union County Tournament with four champs and three more runners-up. CBA has another big opportunity this weekend when it participates in a quad with No. 3 Jackson Memorial, state-ranked Hanover Park and Scotch Plains. There’s also a match with Freehold Township on Wednesday.
5. Brick (12-2). Last week: No. 6
Brick went 3-1 during the week with solid wins over then-No. 10 Middletown North (54-10), St. Joseph (Montvale), 44-33, and Collingswood, 47-20. Seniors Kyle Wojtaszek and Dean Sherry are both 20-0 at 170 and 182 pounds, respectively, while senior Will Scott is 19-1 at 160 pounds and just set was is believed to be the state record for career technical falls. Sophomore Dean Helstowski is 15-2 at 195, sophomore Jack McLafferty is 14-5 at 138 and senior Ray Fattaruso has been impressive in going 5-1 since returning to the lineup. Brick’s criteria win over Jackson Memorial and 14-point loss to CBA have basically cancelled each other out, but the Dragons are a top-five team that will beat 90 percent of opponents with their overwhelming strength from 152 to 220 pounds. When this team wins bouts down low it’s as good as any Group IV team in the state. Brick faces Toms River East on Wednesday before an important match with No. 7 Toms River South on Saturday.
6. Long Branch (11-2). Last week: No. 7
The Green Wave won a thriller vs. then-unranked Raritan, 30-27, last Wednesday when Joey Jasio won by fall in the final bout at 220 pounds. They competed at the Garden State Duals on Saturday at Rutgers, and suffered their first losses of the season in falling to state No. 1 Bergen Catholic, 47-21, and state No. 3 St. Peter’s Prep, 49-12. They also defeated Shawnee, 45-15. Long Branch has seven wrestlers who have at least 10 wins so far, including 15-match winners Mike Shohet (160), Lamont Reid (170) and Jasio. Senior Justin Farnsworth has been a revelation at 106 pounds in his first season as a starter with 13-6 record, and has added another tough out among an already deep group of lower weights. Long Branch takes on Ocean and Colts Neck in B North matches on Wednesday and Friday, then heads to No. 1 Howell for a triangular meet with Old Bridge.
7. Toms River South (7-2). Last week: No. 9
The Indians have won seven in a row since an 0-2 start against Jackson and Brick Memorial, and now that they have everyone in the optimal spots in the lineup, they’re showing just how dangerous they can be. Freshman Nick Gallichio won by decision over Matt Barnett in the final bout at 113 pounds to give Toms River South a 24-23 win over then-No. 4 Southern last Wednesday. The Indians then swept a quad with Toms River North, Passaic Valley and Delsea, the latter of which came 34-33 on criteria. The Indians were down 33-17 to Group II power Delsea with four bouts left, and won all four with Gallichio and Zack Martin winning close decisions at 113 and 120, freshman Cole Corrigan winning by major decision at 126 and junior Owen McClave pinning standout freshman Bill Janzer to tie the bout at 33. South, having won eight bouts, got the extra point on criteria. It’s amazing, too, considering the Indians have forfeited at 106 pounds in all but two matches this season. They take on both Barnegat and Lacey in a double dual on Wednesday, and head to No. 5 Brick on Saturday for a quad also featuring Brearley and Paramus.
8. Southern (7-3). Last week: No. 4
The Rams tumble four spots after falling to Toms River South, 24-23. They rebounded nicely on Saturday by crushing Ocean, 59-7, and eking out a 29-26 win over an always-tough Hunterdon Central team. Senior Chris Crane had a nice week with decision wins over Toms River South’s Zach Martin and Ocean’s Jake Benner, and a technical fall in the win over Hunterdon Central. Senior James Knoeller defeated Ocean’s Costa Poniros, 6-2, at 132 pounds. The Rams will try to rebound in A South this week with a Tuesday match against Toms River North and a Friday dual with No. 2 Brick Memorial. They will then host a quad on Saturday with Kingsway, Bridgewater-Raritan and South Plainfield.
9. Wall (8-2). Last week: No. 8
The Crimson Knights went 4-0 with a 34-30 win over Ocean and blowout wins over Colts Neck (51-24), Shore (72-10) and Red Bank (59-18). The team is getting healthy and rounding into form, and is still without a pair of starters. Junior Brett Donner is close, and although the exact date of his return is still up in the air, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him return this week. Also, junior Max von Suskill, a transfer from Red Bank Catholic, becomes eligible to wrestle on Tuesday and will provide a boost to the upper weights. Senior Denzel Tovar (120) and sophomore Matt McKenzie (195) remain undefeated at 18-0, while freshman Jack Kelly (16-4 at 113), sophomore Nick Wagner (16-3 at 126), junior Joe Demuner (14-6) at 132 and junior Josh Glantzman (16-3) at 145 have all had strong seasons so far. Sophomore Chad McClelland is also undefeated (6-0) since returning from an injury. The Knights have a light week ahead with a home match against St. John Vianney and a road tilt with Point Boro on Friday.
10. Raritan (6-3). Last week: not ranked
The Rockets had just two matches last week, a 54-6 win over Holmdel and a 30-27 loss to Long Branch. In that defeat, however, the Rockets proved they are a top-10 team, splitting bouts with the sixth-ranked Green Wave and nearly pulling the upset. The Rockets are a very young team that continues to improve each week. Long Branch and Raritan always bring out the best in each other, and Wednesday’s dual may be the launching point for the Rockets to chase another sectional title. Senior Dylan Seidenberg is a perfect 16-0 at 138 pounds, while senior Eric Drake is 12-4 at 132, freshman Russell Benson is 13-4 at 120 and junior Nick Bohal is 13-4 at 170 pounds The Rockets were off on Saturday, and return to action Wednesday with a nondivisional match against Manchester before hosting a Saturday quad with Manasquan, Monmouth Regional and Rumson-Fair Haven.
Dropped out: Middletown North (6-3).
Team to Watch:
Jackson Liberty (12-2): The Lions went 5-1 during the week with wins over Point Boro, Barnegat, Manasquan and Red Bank Catholic. They can wrap up the Class B South division title outright with a win over Central on Wednesday.