Wrestling – Instant Classic: Tommy Costanza’s Hail Mary 5-Point Move Keys Brick’s Criteria Win over Jackson Memorial
Follow Bob Badders on Twitter for scores and news from around the Shore.
JACKSON -- With his team on the verge of defeat and himself trailing by four points in a must-win bout, Brick junior Tommy Costanza knew the only thing left to do was swing for the fences.
And he connected.
Costanza hit a five-point Peterson roll with under 10 seconds left in the third period to defeat Jackson Memorial's Hunter Reese, 5-4 at 145 pounds in the second to last bout of the match, keying the No. 5 Green Dragons' heart-stopping 29-28 criteria victory over the No. 4 Jaguars on Wednesday morning.
"I'll be honest, I had lost some confidence at the end, but it was short time and he was beating me 4-0, so I had to come up with something big" Costanza said. "I saw an opening for the Peterson and it came through with a five-point move. It's awesome. I'm just in shock right now."
Jackson Memorial led 28-22 with two bouts left and only needed a decision at 145 pounds to clinch the match. Reese led the entire match and was seconds away from securing the deciding victory when Costanza reversed him to his back with the Peterson and held him there long enough for a five count and three near-fall points as the buzzer sounded.
"The Peterson is something I work on in practice a lot and it's something that works for me and I really enjoy doing it," Costanza said. "I was trying for it the whole third period and had wrist control the whole time. He fell to his hip so I hooked the leg and fell right into it."
"At first I was pacing back here and stressed, thinking what else we could've done differently," said senior Kyle Wojtaszek. All of the sudden I look out and he has Hunter Reese, who is a great wrestler, on his back. Shock. Complete shock."
Costanza's Hail Mary worked, and allowed senior Nick Pollara to trot out at 152 pounds with a chance to win the match outright with bonus points or send it to criteria with a decision. He beat Sean Leahey 5-1 to tie the match at 28 after all 14 bouts, sending it to the tie-breaking criteria. The Dragons won on criteria H: most first points scored, for the biggest regular-season victory in many years. It is the Dragons' first win over Jackson Memorial during head coach Matt Opacity's 12 years as head coach.
"To be honest, I thought the match was over," Pollara said. "There were a lot of ups and downs in the match, and a lot of things happened that weren't supposed to on paper. I was warming up and turned around and heard everyone yelling and saw the ref counting the back points. I knew I had to turn it on and do my job."
"It's exciting," Opacity said. "The way it was looking at the end wasn't so great for us, but that's what makes wrestling great. You wrestle six minutes and a kid like Tommy Costanza can turn the match around for us."
Seniors Will Scott, Wojtaszek and Dean Sherry all remained undefeated while securing valuable bonus points for the Dragons (2-0, 1-0). Scott scored a 16-3 major decision over Tanner Kelly at 160 pounds to start the match, while Wojtaszek won by fall over Kyle Johnson at 170 pounds and Sherry pinned Adante Davis at 195 to open up a 16-3 lead.
Kyle Marino and Anthony Costanza also picked up victories by decision at 120 and 132 pounds, respectively.
Senior Connor Bohringer got Jackson (1-1, 1-1) on the board with a 3-1 decision over Dean Helstowski at 182 pounds. At 220, senior Nick Shimonovich gutted out a 6-4 overtime decision over Anthony Rusignuolo to start a string of four straight wins for the Jags. Senior heavyweight Brody Graham pinned Kelvin Tomasello in 3:08 and sophomore Matt McGowan won by 15-4 major decision over Brick freshman Joe Ferigne to tie the match at 16. Junior Mike Spino won by fall in 1:12 over junior Billy Breen at 113 pounds to give the Jaguars a 22-16 advantage.
The teams traded decision in the next four bouts with Marino posting a 6-2 decision over Ryan Bohringer at 120 pounds and Anthony Costanza winning 7-3 over Mike Christie at 132 for Brick. Senior Fred Terranova used one third period turn to beat Thomas Wright, 2-0, at 126 pounds, and sophomore Tim Hamann came from behind to beat Jack McLafferty in overtime, 5-3. Hamann's victory gave Jackson a 28-22 lead and set the stage for the wild ending.
"This match doesn't make our season and I'm sure we'll see them again," Opacity said.
"We had it in position to win the match, but that's what you play the game," said Jackson Memorial head coach Aaron Gottesman. "We would have loved to be on the other end of it, but it's part of the sport. I hope we get another shot at them, but you have to take your opportunities when you have them. When you're that close and you lose there's no words to describe it."
As Opacity said, it is indeed a long season, and a win before January, especially in A South, won't decide the Dragons' fate. But what Wednesday's win showed Brick is that it has the potential to be the best.
"Coach always tells us we have the talent to be No. 1 in the Shore this year," Wojtaszek said. "It's all about the work ethic in the wrestling room."
No. 5 Brick 28, No. 4 Jackson Memorial 28
*Brick wins on criteria H: most first points scored*
160: Will Scott (B) md. Tanner Kelly 16-3
170: Kyle Wojtaszek (B) p. Kyle Johnson 4:20
182: Connor Bohringer (JM) d. Dean Helstowski 3-1
195: Dean Sherry (B) p. Adante Davis 3:08
220: Nick Shimonovich (JM) d. Anthony Rusignuolo 6-4 SV
Hwt: Brody Graham (JM) p. Kelvin Tomasello 3:08
106: Matt McGowan (JM) md. Joe Ferigne 15-3
113: Mike Spino (JM) p. Billy Breen 1:12
120: Kyle Marino (B) d. Ryan Bohringer 6-2
126: Fred Terranova (JM) d. Thomas Wright 2-0
132: Anthony Costanza (B) d. Mike Christie 7-3
138: Tim Hamann (JM) d. Jack McLafferty 5-3 SV
145: Tommy Costanza (B) d. Hunter Reese 5-4
152: Nick Pollara (B) d. Sean Leahey 5-1