Brielle Orthopedics/Shore Sports Network Wrestling Top 10 for Feb. 2
We're now into February and one step closer to the end of the team portion of the 2021-2022 New Jersey high school wrestling season, but there is still so much to be determined in the Shore Conference.
The Shore Conference Tournament settled some debates, but given that Southern once again did not enter the tournament, we don't have all the results we'd like to see- namely SCT champion Christian Brothers Academy vs. Southern. It is what it is at this point, but it does create an issue when determining which squad is the No. 1 team in the Shore. CBA has a great argument given it just won the conference title and Southern does, too, since it is still undefeated and boasts multiple state top-20 victories.
With that, let's get to this week's Brielle Orthopedics/Shore Sports Network Wrestling Top 10. It's the calm before the storm this week with teams wrapping up their division slates and getting ready for the NJSIAA Team Tournament, which gets underway on Monday.
1. Southern (13-0). Last week: No. 1
The Rams were idle last week thanks to the snowstorm forcing the cancellation of their annual match with Phillipsburg. That was a potential preview of the Group 5 state final now that P'Burg is in Group 5. Serious consideration was given to jumping SCT champion CBA into the top spot, but Southern hasn't done anything to warrant dropping it from the top spot. Tough tests await the Rams, as usual, with an eye on a potential South Jersey Group 5 sectional final matchup with Kingsway next week. Southern is the No. 1 seed in South Jersey Group 5.
2. Christian Brothers Academy (15-2). Last week: No. 2
The Colts defeated No. 3 St. John Vianney in the semifinals and then beat No. 4 Howell in the championship match to win the Shore Conference Tournament for the second time in program history, six years after its historic first title in 2016. CBA also had wins over No. 9 Lacey and Freehold Township in the first two rounds and finished up their week with a Class A North victory over Marlboro. The Colts are rolling right now and the favorite to win the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A sectional title where they earned the No. 1 seed. If they take care of business and Southern falters, they will be the ones to take the top spot.
3. St. John Vianney (12-3). Last week: No. 3
The Lancers defeated Red Bank Catholic in the SCT pre-quarterfinals and then topped No. 6 Brick Memorial, 40-31, in the quarterfinals to reach their first SCT Final Four. They saw their 12-match winning streak come to an end in the semifinals via a 40-31 loss to No. 2 CBA. Despite the loss, this is still a very dangerous team that can win a sectional title. To do so, they will have to get through CBA, which is the top seed in the South Jersey Non-Public A section with SJV seeded second. You know the Lancers would love a rematch.
4. Howell (17-4). Last week: No. 5
Howell got its rematch with Middletown South and came away with a 34-21 victory to advance to the Shore Conference Tournament championship match. In the final, the Rebels were defeated by CBA, 38-29. Howell reached the SCT Final Four with wins over Middletown North and No. 7 Raritan. The Rebels are once again a contender for the Group 5 title in a loaded group that features Southern, Kingsway, Phillipsburg, and Hunterdon Central. Howell earned the No. 1 seed in the Central Jersey Group 5 section.
5. Middletown South (12-4). Last week: No. 4
The Eagles reached the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals for the first time in program history by defeating Toms River East and Jackson Memorial in the pre-quarterfinals and quarterfinals, respectively. In the semifinals, however, they fell to Class A North rival Howell, 34-21. They bounced back on Tuesday with a 68-3 win over Freehold Township. This is been a great season for Middletown South and the Eagles have a chance to make more history next week during the sectional tournament. They are the No. 1 seed in the Central Jersey Group 4 section and will be chasing the program's first sectional title.
6. Brick Memorial (14-3). Last week: No. 6
The Mustangs defeated Freehold, 43-22, to reach the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals where they were defeated by No. 3 St. John Vianney, 40-31. Brick Memorial earned the No. 2 seed in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 section and will likely meet Middletown South in the final where they will try to win their 17th sectional title.
7. Raritan (15-6). Last week: No. 7
The Rockets defeated Ocean, 52-24, to reach the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals where they were defeated by No. 4 Howell, 44-18. They rebounded this week with a 48-18 win over rival Long Branch. Raritan is the No. 1 seed in the Central Jersey Group 2 section and has a legitimate shot at an overall Group 2 title, which the Rockets won back in 2012.
8. Jackson Memorial (12-6). Last week: No. 8
The Jaguars defeated Point Boro, 47-20, to each the SCT quarterfinals and were then defeated by No. 5 Middletown South, 43-17. Jackson is the No. 3 seed in the Central Jersey Group 4 section and is in line for a rematch with Class A South rival Brick Memorial, which won the regular-season dual, 38-26, on Jan. 26.
9. Lacey (16-4). Last week: No. 9
The Lions beat Rumson, 43-30, in the SCT pre-quarterfinals for their second win over the Bulldogs in less than a week. They were then defeated by eventual SCT champion CBA, 57-15, in the quarterfinals. Early this week, Lacey scored an impressive 63-9 win over a solid Toms River East team. The Lions are the No. 2 seed in the South Jersey Group 3 section and will once again have to go through Delsea to claim the program's first sectional title.
10. Rumson-Fair Haven (7-6). Last week: not ranked
Another week, another new team in the No. 10 spot. The Bulldogs lost to No. 9 Lacey for the second time this season, 43-30, in the Shore Conference Tournament pre-quarterfinals but came back on Friday with a 48-25 win over Ocean, which was ranked No. 10 last week. The Bulldogs have some serious firepower in a handful of weights and some young guns capable of pulling off big wins. They are the No. 2 seed in the Central Jersey Group 2 section and will look to upend top-seeded Raritan and claim the program's first sectional title. Raritan won the regular-season dual, 37-31.