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TOMS RIVER –  It was far from a perfect season debut for Brick Memorial, but it was nonetheless a showcase of its considerable might and potential for dominance.

The Mustangs are a top-10 team in New Jersey and the consensus No. 1 team in the Shore Conference and on Tuesday evening they opened the 2021 wrestling season with a 48-26 Class A South victory over Toms River East. Brick Memorial won nine of 14 bouts with six falls and one forfeit and also received a thrilling overtime victory from junior Cory Martin at 170 pounds.

There were hiccups, too, however. Brick Memorial surrendered bonus points in four of Toms River East’s five wins and at 138 pounds, Nicholas DeLorenzo rallied for a win over returning district champion Braden Scott. Still, it was a 22-point victory with plenty of room for improvement. Mostly, it was just good to be back.

“This was like Christmas morning for the ‘Stangs,” said Brick Memorial head coach Mike Kiley. “We all woke up and were ecstatic to be getting on a bus to come here and compete alongside each other.”

“Our guys went out and competed hard. Some guys have to get better but I like where we’re at in match 1.”

Brick Memorial has one of, if not the, best lowerweight groups in the state with seniors Vincent Santaniello and Nick Torre, sophomore Anthony Santaniello and juniors Evan Tallmadge, Lucas Torre and Braden Scott. Vincent Santaniello is a three-time state medalist, including second last season and third as a sophomore and a two-time region champ. Anthony was the state runner-up at 106 pounds last season and Tallmadge transferred from Brick Township High School where he was fourth in the state at 106 pounds last season and has 72 wins in his first two seasons. Lucas Torre transferred from Point Boro and is a returning state qualifier and Scott was a district champ last season. Nick Torre was injured last season but in 2019 he won 28 bouts and was a region medalist.

Up top, senior David Szuba is a returning state finalist and a favorite to win the heavyweight state title.

The Mustangs know what they’re going to get from that group, especially the Santaniello brothers, Tallmadge and Szuba, who were a combined 155-9 last season. How the rest of the lineup performs will decide the Mustangs’ fate in 2021.

“Those are the guys we’re focusing on right now,” Kiley said of the unheralded portion of the roster. “I told the team yesterday that if we go into a dual meet and nobody gets pinned, we’re a very tough team to beat. I know what my hammers are going to do.”

Vincent Santaniello, Tallmadge and Szuba each won by fall against Toms River East and Anthony Santaniello received a forfeit. Nick Torre won by fall. Lucas Torre did not weigh in and that was one of the weights Brick Memorial lost (106). When whole, Brick Memorial has so much firepower that it puts opponents in a position where they have to limit bonus points, win the bout split and get a bunch of bonus points in those wins. There just aren’t many teams in New Jersey that are even capable of that.

The match began with Anthony Santaniello winning by forfeit at 120 pounds. Vincent Santaniello was barely on the mat longer than his brother, recording a fall in just nine seconds. Nick Torre followed with a 57-second pin at 132 pounds – his first win in a Brick Memorial singlet – and just like that it was 18-0 Brick Memorial.

Toms River East’s advantage was between 145-160 pounds with two-time region champion Michael Conklin, state qualifier Joe McCullough and district medalist Anthony Lawrence. But the Raiders started one bout early when DeLorenzo erased a six-point deficit in the second period to defeat Scott, 10-6, at 138 pounds. Down 6-0, DeLorenzo scored a reversal and two near-fall points to trim his deficit to 6-4 entering the third period. In the final period he escaped, scored a takedown and then locked Scott in a cradle to take the lead.

At 145, Conklin pinned Victor DiPianta in 1:15. McCullough followed with a 15-0 technical fall over Dawson Renna at 152 and Lawrence pinned Henry Lindquist in 1:25 to suddenly give Toms River East a 20-18 lead.

The advantage would not last for long, however, thanks to a gutsy win by Martin over Oscar Serrano at 170 pounds. Serrano took a quick 5-0 lead and extended the advantage to 7-2 midway through the second period, but Martin battled back with a reversal and three back points to tie the score 7-7. Serrano would answer with another reversal to take a 9-7 lead into the third period. Martin scored a reversal in the third period nearly turned Serrano for the go-ahead points, but the bout went to overtime tied 9-9. In sudden victory, Martin fought off a shot attempt by Serrano and countered with a scoring sequence of his own to win 11-9.

“I told Cory Martin right before he went out on the mat, ‘You’ve been training, go and show it,” Kiley said. “He was due for a win like that and it was great for him put to some credibility to his work.”

Martin’s win re-ignited the Mustangs and started a five-bout winning streak that would put the match away. Mike Angrosina used four takedowns to defeat Alexander Hall, 10-7, at 182 pounds. Ruben Lizardi then won by fall in just 48 seconds at 195 pounds and Matt Murphy did the same with a second-period pin at 220 as the Mustangs spun a two-point deficit into a 16-point lead in the span of four bouts.

At heavyweight, Szuba did as expected with a 34-second pin of David Ciullo.

Brick Memorial would have been favored at 106 pounds had Torre been in the lineup, but he wasn’t and Toms River East took advantage as freshman Kurt Wehner won by fall in 1:15 over Ryan Henderson.

Tallmadge closed out the dual with a fall in 1:13 in his Brick Memorial debut.

“It was the best feeling,” Szuba said of the season finally starting. “I was just hoping it wouldn’t get canceled. We’re ready to come out here and start firing on all cylinders.”

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY BY RICHARD O'DONNELL PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Box Score

No. 1 Brick Memorial 48, Toms River East 26

120: Anthony Santaniello (BM) by forfeit

126: Vincent Santaniello (BM) p. Richie Kulessa, 0:09

132: Nick Torre (BM) p. Zack Gorlin, 0:57

138: Nick DeLorenzo (TRE) d. Braden Scott, 10-6

145: Michael Conklin (TRE) p. Victor DiPianta, 1:15

152: Joe McCullough (TRE) tf. Dawson Renna, 5:07 (15-0)

160: Anthony Lawrence (TRE) p. Henry Lindquist, 1:25

170: Cory Martin (BM) d. Oscar Serrano, 11-9 in sudden victory

182: Mike Angrosina (BM) d. Alexander Hall, 10-7

195: Ruben Lizardi (BM) p. Gage Grosso, 0:48

220: Matt Murphy (BM) p. Nico Capone, 2:53

285: David Szuba (BM) p. David Ciullo, 0:34

106: Kurt Wehner (TRE) p. Ryan Henderson, 1:15

113: Evan Tallmadge (BM) p. Jaton Wellington, 1:13

 

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