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By John F. Horan - Rumson-Fair Haven Wrestling Correspondent 

When Rumson-Fair Haven, ranked No. 4 in the Shore Sports Network Top Ten. met No. 7 Ocean on Wednesday, March 24, in a highly-anticipated dual meet, it was a tale of two halves.

The match started at 152 pounds, the heart of Rumson’s lineup. The Bulldogs won six of the first seven matches between 152 and 285 and Ocean won six of the last seven matches between 106 and. The meet ended with each team winning seven matches, however, not every win is of equal value. Bonus team points are awarded for pins, technical falls and major decisions and on Wednesday night, Ocean recorded pins in six of the last eight matches to beat the Bulldogs, 39-32, in an important Shore Conference Class A Central match. Bonus points were the difference as the Spartans rallied from a 28-0 deficit.

The Bulldogs’ hammers between 152 and 220 performed as expected, winning all six matches with three by fall, one by major decision and two by decision. The Spartans showed their heart in the first match as senior Kevin Cartagena-Walsh (2nd in District 19) limited three-time state qualifier and 2020 state eighth-place finisher Max Brignola to a major decision. At 160, Shane Cartagena-Walsh forced state qualifier Tyler Brignola to overtime where Brignola scored a brilliant takedown to win the match, 3-1. Shay Addison (170), Jack Kelly (182) and Hudson Skove (220) each recorded first-period pins. One of the more exciting matches of the night was Ryan Boyer vs. Tah-Jay Phillips at 195 pounds. Phillips struck like a tornado in the first period and nearly pinned Boyer. Phillips demonstrated elite physicality, but Boyer weathered the storm and dragged Phillips into the third period. Boyer showed superior conditioning in coming from behind to win 17-14, which pumped up the crowd and his teammates.

Joe Teresi at heavyweight started a run that doomed the Bulldogs. The Spartans recorded pins from Teresi at 285, freshman James Farina at 106, senior Blake Tarnowski at 113, junior Gio Poniros at 126 and freshman Michael Poniros at 138. Aidan Shaughnessy broke up the Spartans’ run at 120 where he recorded a 14-1 major decision. Shaughnessy was dominant, controlling the match from beginning to end over Demetri Poniros (1st in District 24 and 3rd in Region 6).

The meet reached a crescendo at 138 where Poniros met Rumson sophomore Tyler Izzo. Poniros quickly took Izzo down but Izzo escaped just as quickly and put Poniros to his back for a 5-point move. Faster than your eyes could process it, Poniros rolled Izzo, putting him to his back and ultimately scoring the fall late in the first period. It was a 12-point swing in favor of the Spartans and it iced another Ocean victory over the Bulldogs.

Rumson head coach Bryan Heller commented on the hard-fought meet: “When you set high goals and expectations are high there aren’t any consolation prizes. Our kids fought hard but ultimately we came up short, and it stings. We need to use this as motivation to keep developing and showing growth from top to bottom.”

Box Score

No. 7 Ocean 39, No. 4 Rumson-Fair Haven 32

Max Brignola (Rumson-Fair Haven) over Kevin Cartagena-Walsh (Ocean) (MD 16-3)
Tyler Brignola (Rumson-Fair Haven) over Shane Cartagena-Walsh (Ocean) (Dec 3-1)
Shay Addison (Rumson-Fair Haven) over Najib Noorzaie (Ocean) (Fall 1:15)
Jack Kelly (Rumson-Fair Haven) over Jared Tracey (Ocean) (Fall 1:29)
Ryan Boyer (Rumson-Fair Haven) over Tah-Jay Phillips (Ocean) (Dec 17-14)
Hudson Skove (Rumson-Fair Haven) over Mateo Chavarriaga (Ocean) (Fall 1:25)
Joseph Teresi (Ocean) over Tyler Toth (Rumson-Fair Haven) (Fall 0:10)
James Farina (Ocean) over Julian DuQue (Rumson-Fair Haven) (Fall 5:35)
Blake Tarnowski (Ocean) over Shane Sullivan (Rumson-Fair Haven) (Fall 1:20)
Aiden Shaughnessy (Rumson-Fair Haven) over Demetri Poniros (Ocean) (MD 14-1)
Gio Poniros (Ocean) over Patrick Simpson (Rumson-Fair Haven) (Fall 5:50)
AJ Benner (Ocean) over Murphy McCarty (Rumson-Fair Haven) (Fall 0:29)
Michael Poniros (Ocean) over Tyler Izzo (Rumson-Fair Haven) (Fall 1:50)
Nicholas Benner (Ocean) over Alex Simpson (Rumson-Fair Haven) (Dec 9-4)



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