This season marked the first time since 2003 the Shore Conference did not have a state championship team, but the conference was again among the best in the state with six teams finishing the season ranked among the top 20 in the New Jersey Wrestling Writers Association final poll. The Shore did have four sectional champions as Southern won South Jersey Group IV, Howell won Central Jersey Group IV, Brick captured the Central Jersey Group II crown and Wall claimed the Central Jersey Group II title.

 

Southern won its first A South title since 2005 and reached the Group IV final where it suffered its only defeat.    (Photo by Cliff Lavelle.)

 

1. Southern (20-1)

The Rams reached the Group IV final before falling to Phillipsburg, and finished ranked No. 7 in the state. Southern won its first Class A South division title since 2005 by finishing a perfect 7-0 in the division with wins over state-ranked Brick Memorial, Jackson Memorial and Brick. The Rams then captured their ninth South Jersey Group IV title in the last 10 seasons, and won the District 24 team title for the 14th time and 12th time in the last 13 seasons. The Rams were undefeated against Shore Conference teams and also had two wins over Central Jersey Group IV champion Howell. Seniors Zach Wilhelm and Nick Racanelli won region titles along with junior Matt Wilhelm. Zach Wilhelm finished fifth in the state tournament at 145 pounds. Head coach John Stout was selected as District 24 Coach of the Year.

 

2. Howell (28-4)

It was a banner year for Howell's program, as the Rebels captured the Shore Conference Tournament title and the Central Jersey Group IV title for the first time in program history. Each time they defeated Brick Memorial, which was the defending champion in each tournament. They won the Class A North division title for the ninth straight season for the 18th division title in program history, and also won the District 21 team title for the third year in a row and seventh overall. The Rebels finished No. 10 in the final NJWWA top 20 poll. Senior heavyweight Kyle Cocozza won the Region VI title while sophomore Kris Lindemann and senior Joey Schultz finished second. Lindemann finished sixth in the state at 132 pounds and Schultz placed sixth at 160. Head coach John Gagliano was selected as District 21 Coach of the Year, Region VI Coach of the Year and New Jersey Coach of the Year as selected by the New Jersey Wrestling Coaches Association.

 

3. Brick Memorial (15-3)

The Mustangs finished second in Class A South and reached the final of both the Shore Conference Tournament and the Central Jersey Group IV tournament. They won the District 23 team title for the fifth season in a row for their 28th district title overall. Freshman Gianni Ghione (106) and seniors Nick Costa (182) and Tyler Poling (220) won region titles to give Brick Memorial a Shore Conference-best 53 all-time region champs. Costa placed fifth in the state tournament while Poling was sixth. Junior Alec Donovan was second in the region tournament and placed seventh in the state at 145 pounds. Senior Joe Ghione (138) and freshman Nick Rivera (Hwt) also qualified for the state tournament.

 

4. Jackson Memorial (19-4)

The Jaguars finished third in Class A South and, despite a down year by their standards, finished the season as the No. 13 team in the state. Jackson's only losses came to the Southern, Howell and twice to Brick Memorial. They reached the semifinals of the Central Jersey Group IV Tournament and the Shore Conference Tournament, and finished second to Howell in the District 21 Tournament. Among the Jaguars' dual-meet wins were victories over Group III finalist Brick, Group I finalist Hanover Park and Central Jersey Group II champion Wall. Senior Ken Bradley finished second in the Region VI Tournament at 195 pounds and junior Fred Terranova finished third at 106.

 

5. Brick (19-6)

The Dragons went on a great late-season run and captured the Central Jersey Group III title for the second time in program history, then reached the Group III final for the first time before falling to Clearview. Brick was fourth in Class A South and third in District 23 while reaching the SCT quarterfinals. The Dragons finished ranked No. 17 in the state. Junior Dean Sherry won the Region VI title at 170 pounds and junior Kyle Wojtaszek placed third at 152 pounds. Wojtaszek would go on to finish seventh in the state.

 

6. Wall (16-5)

The Crimson Knights made history when they knocked off Raritan and then Long Branch to win the Central Jersey Group II title, the first in program history. Wall finished second in Class B North and second in the District 23 Tournament, and reached the quarterfinals of the SCT. Sophomore Brett Donner won the Region VI 160-pound title and finished third in the state tournament. Junior Denzel Tovar was third in the region at 113 pounds. Head coach Brian Fischer was selected as District 23 Coach of the Year.

 

7. Long Branch (23-4)

The Green Wave won the Class B North title, their 19th division title in program history. Long Branch reached the final of the Central Jersey Group II Tournament and the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament, while finishing second in District 22. Junior Jason Hernandez led the team with a 32-4 record and won the District 22 title at 113 pounds.

 

8. Raritan (30-4)

The Rockets won the Class A Central division title to give them 13 overall division titles and 10 in the last 11 seasons. They reached the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament and semifinals of the Central Jersey Group II Tournament, and also finished third in District 22. Senior Kyle Lynch finished third in the region at 182 pounds, and senior heavyweight Pat Toal placed fifth in the state after finishing second in the region.

 

9. Christian Brothers Academy (18-7)

The Colts won the District 22 team title just the second time and first time since 1968. They reached the Non-Public South A sectional final and finished second in Class A North, while also advancing to the SCT quarterfinals. Senior Mike Oxley won his second straight region title at 195 pounds and sophomore Sebastian Rivera finished second at 106. Both would go on to finish fifth in the state tournament.

 

10. Point Boro (19-3)

The Panthers won the Class B South division title for their third division championship in the last four seasons. They qualified for the Central Jersey Group II Tournament and fell to eventual champion Wall in the first round. Point Boro was fourth in the District 23 Tournament. Senior Ryan Budzek won his second region title at 126 pounds and junior Dan Nobbs placed third at 120 pounds.