STAFFORD TOWNSHIP — Southern took nine of 14 bouts and secured bonus points in six of its victories to open its season with a 35-21 Shore Conference Class A South victory when the Shore Conference wrestling season kicked off on Friday night.

Brick Memorial freshman Michael Richardson gave the Mustangs a 13-10 lead through six bouts when he pinned Jayson Cerbo with a spladle at 106 pounds, but it was all Southern from there as the Rams won six of the final eight bouts to cruise victory.

Sophomore Sebastian Delligatti won by fall at 120 pounds while Seon Bowker at 195, Owen Kretschmer at 113, Nicke Pepe at 126, Matt Barnett at 138 and Nick O’Connell at 145 each won by major decision to power the Rams (1-0, 1-0) past the rival Mustangs (0-1, 0-1).

In addition to Richardson’s pin at 106, Brick Memorial received a 9-1 major decision from standout senior heavyweight Nick Rivera, a 21-7 major decision by star senior Gianni Ghione at 132 pounds and a 21-10 major decision by sophomore Ean Mueller at 152 pounds.

The match marked the head-coaching debut at his alma mater for Brick Memorial’s Mike Kiley. The former head coach at David Brearley High School in Union County starred for the Mustangs from 2006-2009 and helped the program bring home back-to-back NJSIAA Group IV titles in 2008 and 2009. He went 94-40 during his career and was a three-time Region VI qualifier.

Having key matchup such as Brick Memorial vs. Southern so early in the season doesn’t answer many questions. These two teams will be vastly different even two weeks from now. From the fan’s perspective, this is a matchup better suited for the middle of January. Southern head coach John Stout would prefer the match come later in the year, while Kiley had mixed feelings.

“It’s tough because it’s so early and you really don’t know where Brick Memorial is as a team, and I don’t know where I’m at as team,” Stout said. “It’s hard to take away too much from it. It’s kine of like a neutral thing, not too many positives and not too many negatives.”

“I would rather not have Southern right off the bat, but I think it gives our kids a taste of what we’re getting into in A South,” Kiley said. “As a new coach it’s also a great match to start the season with. No one will be as tough and push us around around like Southern. As a new coach I didn’t see how these kids competed, so that’s what this was for me. I wanted to see how these kids compete, see when someone punches them in the face how they react and see what they do when adversity hits. I think they did a pretty good job responding.”

Junior Sam Williams got Brick Memorial on the board first by using a third-period takedown to defeat Ryan Adams, 4-3, at 170 pounds for his first varsity win.

Two takedowns in the second period powered Vin Miele to a 6-2 win over Jack Tango at 182 pounds to tie the team score at three, and Bowker’s 16-4 win over Roberto Herrera at 195 pounds put Southern up 7-3.  

Dan Lynch held on against Willie Garner through a wild flurry in the closing seconds at 220 pounds to win 5-1 and extend Southern’s lead to 10-3, but Brick Memorial would win the next two bouts to take the lead. Rivera scored five points in the third period to secure a 9-1 major decision over Evan Giberson at heavyweight before Richardson caught and spladled Cerbo in 2:58.


Southern’s advantage in balance showed throughout the remainder of the match. Kretschmer, a junior who was fourth in Region VI last season, overpowered Joe Rotundo at 113 pounds with a 12-2 victory to give Southern a 14-3 lead. Kretschmer had four takedowns and turned Rotundo for two sets of two near-fall points. At 120 pounds, Delligatti took Chris Lawrence down twice before getting three back points off a near fall that was prevented only by the first period buzzer. He picked up right where he left off in the second period with a takedown right into another pinning combination, finishing off the fall in 2:58.    

Kiley briefly elaborated after the match.

“I’m not going talk about any one individual, but I will say if you’re not aligned with what we’re doing that’s probably going to happen,” Kiley said.

Southern is also without two of its mainstays in the upper half of the lineup as senior Nick Suriano, a region qualifier, and junior Joe Miele were not listed on the weight-in sheet for the Brick Memorial match.

Brick Memorial stopped Southern’s three-bout win streak when Ghione, a two-time state medalist who is committed to the University of Pennsylvania, scored nine takedowns in a 21-7 win over Ryan Thorn at 132 pounds.

Junior Matt Barnett opened a a 9-0 lead in the first period on Caleb Alvarado en route to a 15-4 win at 138, and sophomore Nick O’Connell dominated Brick Memorial junior Brian Wilson, a transfer from Kansas, 12-2 at 145 pounds.

Junior Dan Gorman won a thriller over Brick Memorial senior Chris Richardson with a takedown in sudden victory to win 4-2 in overtime at 152 pounds. Richardson was up 2-0 after a reversal in the third period, but was hit for stalling twice to give one point to Gorman. He then cut Gorman loose with under 30 seconds left in the third period to tie the score at two.  

Mueller closed out the dual with a 21-10 win over Southern sophomore John Stout, leading 8-2 after the first period and 15-4 after two periods.


Box Score

No. 1 Southern 35, No. 9 Brick Memorial 21

170: Sam Williams (BM) d. Ryan Adams 4-3

182: Vin Miele (S) d. Jack Tango 6-2

195: Seon Bowker (S) md. Roberto Herrera 16-4

220: Dan Lynch (S) d. Willie Garner 5-1

Hwt: Nick Rivera (BM) md. Evan Giberson 9-1

106: Michael Richardson (BM) p. Jayson Cerbo 2:58

113: Owen Kretschmer (S) md. Joe Rotundo 12-2

120: Sebastian Delligatti (S) p. Chris Lawrence 2:58

126: Nick Pepe (S) md. Ryan Andrus 13-4

132: Gianni Ghione (BM) md. Ryan Thorn 21-7

138: Matt Barnett (S) md. Caleb Alvarado 15-4

145: Nick O’Connell (S) md. Brian Wilson 12-2

152: Dan Gorman (S) d. Chris Richardson 4-2 SV

160: Ean Mueller (BM) md. John Stout 21-10

Records: Brick Memorial (0-1, 0-1); Southern (1-0, 1-0).


Wrestling editor Bob Badders can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights