2018-2019 Shore Conference Wrestling Preview: Class B Central
CLASS B CENTRAL
Asbury Park – head coach: Matt Ardizzone, 2nd season
Keansburg – head coach: Chris DeTalvo, 11th season
Keyport – head coach: Al Smith, 23rd season
Point Beach – head coach: Jeff Bower, 9th season
St. Rose – head coach: Rob Connelley, 4th season
Shore – head coach: Dave Porta, 10th season
DATE WITH DESTINY
Either Point Beach or Shore has won the Class B Central title every season since 2007 that that will almost certainly be the case again in 2019 as they are the clear class of the division.
Point Beach wrestling has never been in a better place. The Garnett Gulls are coming off a season in which they won their third straight NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 sectional title and won their ninth division title in the last 11 years. To repeat in both, however, they’ll need to regroup after losing half their starting lineup to graduation. Small schools usually can’t come back quickly after losing that many starters in one offseason, but Point Beach has great numbers and should be in contention yet again.
Point Beach has three 20-match winners returning from 120-132 with sophomores Kip Lovgren and Riley Simon and junior Jesse Bowers. Lovgren was 20-9 and third in District 23, Simson was 21-16 and a district runner-up and Bowers led the team with a 29-7 record and a second-place finish at districts.
At 170 pounds, junior Jason Sherlock is back after an injury-shortened sophomore season limited him to just 14 bouts. After missing the first half of the season he was able to return and finish 9-5 with a second-place finish at districts. A full season out of him will be a big boost, especially since the Gulls aren’t very experienced up top. Junior Liam Buday (16-17, 3rd D23) at 195 pounds is the only other wrestler in the upper weights who is a returning starter.
Shore also lost some significant pieces to graduation, but the Blue Devils return a pair of hammers in the lower half plus several other standouts to make them the slight favorite.
Sophomore Jack Maida went 39-8, finished second in District 24 and qualified for the state tournament with a fourth-place finish in Region 6 as a freshman. He enters the season with high expectations and as the No. 14 ranked 106-pound wrestler in the entire country per FloWrestling. At 138 pounds is junior Al DeSantis, who was 38-8, fourth in the Shore Conference Tournament, a District 24 champion and third in Region 6 to reach the state tournament.
Senior Matt Klemser (30-5) will be at 113 pounds, giving Shore a good combo down low. The same can be said about the middle of the lineup where sophomore Mike McGhee is at 145 after going 33-9 and taking second in districts as a freshman. Senior Ian Smith (21-13) is at 152 and Shore also gets a boost by the return of senior Jack McCrae at 160. McCrae had 28 wins and was a region qualifier as a sophomore but missed all of last season with an injury.
Senior Taylor Sousa is the linchpin up top after going 23-14 and finishing second at districts. He’ll be at 195 pounds and sophomore Cade Torres (18-16) is back at 220 pounds. Being a freshman upperweight is never easy, but Jamie Mazzacco was an intermediate state medalist last season, so he’s one to watch at 170 pounds.
Shore will host the probable division title match is on Jan. 3. It could be the first of two meetings since both teams are in the Central Jersey Group 1 state bracket.
Wrestlers to Watch
Jesse Bowers, Jr., 132, Point Beach: 29-7, 2nd D23
Al DeSantis, Jr., 138, Shore: 4th SCT, 1st D24, 3rd R6
Kip Lovgren, So., 120, Point Beach: 20-9, 3rd D23
Jack Maida, So., 106, Shore: 39-8, 2nd D24, 4th R6
Mike McCahon, Sr., 170/182, Keyport: 24-8
Mike McGhee, So., 145, Shore: 33-9, 2nd D24
Liam Riecks, Sr., 195, Keansburg: 25-7, 3rd D17
Jason Sherlock, Jr., 170, Point Beach: 9-5, 2nd D23
Keyport at Blue Devil Invitational (Ewing)
Point Beach at TCNJ Pride Tournament (Middletown South)
Shore at Pine Barrens Classic (Shawnee)
St. Rose, Shore at Holmdel Christmas Tournament
Point Beach at Bear Invitational (East Brunswick)
Shore vs. Point Boro, at Central Regional HS
Point Beach at Shore
Keansburg quad with St. Rose, Keyport and Asbury Park
Shore vs. Ocean
Shore vs. Manalapan
Asbury Park, Keansburg, Keyport at Buc Classic (Red Bank)
Point Beach at Point Boro
Shore Conference Tournament at Red Bank Regional HS
NJSIAA sectional quarterfinals
NJSIAA sectional semifinals
NJSIAA sectional finals
NJSIAA state semifinals and finals at RWJ Barnabas Arena (Toms River North)
NJSIAA district tournaments
Feb. 20, 22-23
NJSIAA region tournaments
Feb. 28-March 2
NJSIAA state tournament at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City
Managing 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.