Wrestling – Home Sweet Home: Brick Memorial Impresses at Mustang Classic
Follow Bob Badders on Twitter for scores and news from around the Shore.
BRICK — Alec Donovan had a very specific set of plans for Saturday’s Mustang Classic.
The Brick Memorial junior wanted a chance at Ocean’s two-time state medalist Zach Hertling in the 152-pound bracket. Hertling, however, was not entered in the tournament after wrestling five matches at last weekend’s Beast of the East Tournament. So instead, Donovan set his sights on St. John Vianney’s Terrence Davis to exact some revenge.
“I wanted to wrestle Davis as a rematch from the All-Star (Invitational) when he beat me (6-5),” Donovan said. “I knew If I could stop him in the first period without him taking me down I could gas him out and work for my points.”
Donovan got his wish with a semifinal meeting against Davis, and he made good on his prediction with a hard-fought 3-1 victory, which he parlayed into an 11-0 victory over High Point’s Chris Auer in the final to place first in the 152-pound bracket. Donovan’s two best assets - endurance and relentlessness - were on display against the Lancers senior, who excels at defensive wrestling. Donovan took multiple shots through the first two periods but couldn’t get Davis to the mat. He finally broke through late in the third period to win 3-1. In the final, he dominated Auer from start to finish to give host Brick Memorial the first of its two champions on the afternoon.
“I could feel him getting tired in the second period,” Donovan said of Davis. “As the season goes on I watch to see if certain kids gas out or not, and I use that to my advantage. Once I got through Davis I thought I was going to win it all.”
“I give credit to Donovan, he is a very hard worker,” said Brick Memorial head coach Mike Denver. “He wrestled very tough and very smart.”
Brick Memorial senior Nick Costa also brought home gold by winning the 182-pound bracket. Costa, the seventh-place finisher in the state tournament at 182 pounds last season, majored Wall’s Tommy Wishart 17-4 in the quarterfinals, defeated High Point’s Antonio Porraspita 6-1 in the semifinals and then won by major decision over St. Augustine’s James Bennett, 9-1, to take the title.
Brick Memorial, ranked No. 1 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, had a total of five finalists and three third-place finishers in the tournament, although team scoring was not kept. Gianni Ghione (106), Luis Bocalman (120) and Tyler Poling (220) each placed second while Rob Ruggiero (145), Cliff Ruggiero (160) and Marcus Foster (Hwt) wrestled back for third.
Ghione fell to St. Augustine sophomore Reid White, 8-6 in sudden victory, in a back-and-forth match that featured some great mat wrestling complete with five reversals. White hit a throw near the boundary in overtime to claim the title. Bocalman reached the final with a stunning upset of top-seeded Max Rallo of Ocean. Rallo was leading 16-3 before Bocalman caught him in a near-side cradle and pinned him with 1:01 left in the third period. Bocalman was defeated in the final by High Point’s Dominick Gallo, 7-0. Poling edged High Point’s Robert McDonnell, 1-0, to reach the 220-pound final before dropping a 7-2 decision to Delsea’s Bryan Dobzanski, the defending state champion at that weight who is also ranked No. 2 in the nation by InterMat.
“He’s one of the best kids in the country, and the fact that I hung with him and didn’t get pinned gives me confidence,” Poling said. “I fought to get up and earned both my points, so that’s what I take out of it. It’s a learning experience that I’ll look to build on.”
Tenth-ranked Wall had three finalists and one champion, as freshman Joseph McKenzie came from the No. 8 seed to win a wide-open 170-pound bracket. McKenzie won by fall over Ocean’s Viet Le in his opening bout before upending top-seeded Kenny Swartz of Riverside, 3-1, in the quarterfinals. He pinned Paulsboro’s Jim Sutton in 34 seconds to reach the final where he held off St. John Vianney’s Matt Falco, 5-2.
Crimson Knights junior Denzel Tovar, the top seed at 113 pounds, lost a 7-5 decision to Paulsboro freshman Anthony Duca in the final. At 160, Brett Donner fell to Riverside’s Christian Stackhouse, 3-1 in sudden victory, in a matchup of state qualifiers. The match was not without controversy, though. The official signaled a takedown for Donner in overtime but quickly waved it off. Stackhouse later secured the winning takedown.
No. 7 Ocean had a pair of third-place finishers with Rallo placing third at 120 and Costa Poniros taking bronze at 126.
Paulsboro had a tournament-high five champions with Duca, Sam Morina (132), Juan Rivera (138), Ronnie Gentile (145) and Davontae Randall (Hwt) winning titles. Gentile, the second-place finisher in the state tournament at 132 pounds last season, defeated High Point’s Jason Gaccione, the state fourth-place finisher at 145, 7-5 in the championship bout. He was selected as the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. Morina pinned High Point’s Mike Derin, who was the state eighth-place finisher at 132 last season, in the final.
High Point had a pair of champions in Gallo and Kyle Stoll (195). Stoll was the sixth-place finisher at 195 pounds in last season’s state tournament.
106: 3-Reid White (St. Augustine) d. 4-Gianni Ghione (Brick Memorial) 8-6 (SV).
113: 4-Anthony Duca (Paulsboro) d. 1-Denzel Tovar (Wall) 7-5 (SV).
120: 2-Dom Gallo (High Point) d. 4-Luis Bocalman (Brick Memorial) 7-0.
126: 1-John Amato (Timber Creek) d. 3-Mike Morina (Paulsboro) 8-3
132: 2-Sam Morina (Paulsboro) p. 1-Mike Derin (High Point) 5:16
138: 1-Juan Rivera (Paulsboro) d. 7-Mickey Croce (Paulsboro) 3-2 (UTB)
145: 1-Ronnie Gentile (Paulsboro) d. 2-Jason Gaccione (High Point) 7-5
152: 1-Alec Donovan (Brick Memorial) md. 6-Chris Auer (High Point) 11-0
160: 2-Christian Stackhouse (Riverside) d. 1-Brett Donner (Wall) 3-1 (SV)
170: 8-Joseph McKenzie (Wall) d. 2-Matt Falco (St. John Vianney) 5-2
182: 1-Nick Costa (Brick Memorial) md. 3-James Bennett (St. Augustine) 9-1
195: 1-Kyle Stoll (High Point) vs. 3-Niko Savaiinaea (Paulsboro) 1-0
220: 1-Bryan Dobzanski (Delsea) d. 2-Tyler Poling (Brick Memorial) 7-2
Hwt: 1-Davontae Randall (Paulsboro) vs. 4-Thomas Lynd (St. Augustine) 3-2 (UTB)