WEST LONG BRANCH — The Class B Central division championship is on the verge of coming back to Ocean County.

In what has become the annual division title match, Point Beach pulled away early from host Shore for a 50-24 win Wednesday night to clinch at least a share of the B Central title. The Garnet Gulls won nine of the 14 bouts and picked up bonus points in eight of those victories to move one stop closer to securing their eighth division title in the last 10 seasons.

Point Beach can clinch the division title outright with a win over Keansburg on Thursday night. Shore won the division title last season, ironically in the same year Point Beach broke through to win the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I title for the first time in program history.

“It’s always a good rivalry, Beach vs. Shore, in wrestling, football, everything,” said senior Cody Liguori. “To come out and beat them like this awesome, especially after they took the division title last year. We wanted to come back and win it.”

The Garnet Gulls had four pins and one technical fall, and also won three bouts by forfeit. Two of those forfeits came to wrestlers that would have been heavily favored - Jack Baker at 182 and Roddy Rupp at 132. Jason and Jimmy Sherlock each won by fall at 145 and 152 pounds, respectively, and Cade Watkins at heavyweight and Will Jarvis at 106 each pinned their opponents in under a minute. Jason Bowers won by technical fall at 160 pounds and Liguori used a third-period takedown to win by decision at 195 pounds.


Jarrett Weir opened the match with an 8-6 comeback win over Danny Savage in overtime to give Shore a 3-0 lead, but Point Beach would win the next three bouts to take a 17-3 lead. Jason Sherlock clamped a spladle on Jack McCrae for a pin in 2:08 at 145, then Jimmy Sherlock pinned Dean Smolokoff in 2:55 for a 12-3 advantage. At 160 pounds it was Bowers exploding for 12 points in the second period en route to a 15-0 technical fall over Garrett Shaffery in 4:07.

Shore came back with a pin at 170 pounds as Austin Cannon moved to 10-0 on the season with a pin of Sean Gould in 2:56.


The Blue Devils elected to forfeit to Baker (15-1) at 182 pounds, however, and that started a five-bout winning streak for the Gulls that put the match away. Liguori’s takedown in the third period gave him a 4-3 victory over Mike Rosati at 195 to give Point beach a 26-9 lead. A forfeit to sophomore Nick Kenmure (11-3) at 220 pushed the advantage to 32-9.

At heavyweight it was Watkins (14-3) overpowering Namir Stevens and taking him down straight to his back for a pin in 53 seconds. At 106, Will Jarvis (15-2) chin-whipped Ross Dougherty to the mat quickly and finished off the fall in 46 seconds to give the Gulls an insurmountable 44-9 lead.   

Shore’s best stretch of wrestlers was yet to come, and three consecutive wins by the Blue Devils helped make the final score respectable. Sophomore Matt Klemser improved to 13-5 by pinning Dominick Waldman in 1:55 at 113 pounds. Junior Brad Smuro (15-2) found a cradle and pinned Jesse Bowers in 5:04 at 120 pounds to make the score 44-21. At 120, freshman Al DeSantis continued his tremendous season by defeating Jude Lovgren, 5-3, to remain perfect at 19-0.  

Shore forfeited to Rupp (15-1) at 132 pounds in the final bout.

Point Beach graduated three standouts from last season’s team as Region VI champ and state medalist John Finnerty, Region VI runner-up Giancarlo Crivelli and District 23 runner-up Forrest Gardner moved on to college. The Garnet Gulls brought back 10 starters this season and have plenty of depth, especially for a small Group I program. Several of those wrestlers will soon eclipse their win total from last season.

“We ended the season knowing we were losing three key wrestlers,” Liguori said. “We knew we had to fill those positions and kids have stepped up and done very well. We’re wrestling tough.”

“We do have a lot of depth and experience up and down the lineup,” said Point Beach head coach Jeff Bower. “We have 47 guys in the room, a quarter of the boys in the school, so it’s pretty cool. We’re in a good place. We just have to keep grinding.”

Point Beach is again a contender for a sectional championship, and it looks like it will again come down to the Gulls and Manville in Central Jersey Group I. The teams were separated by two-tenths of a point in the latest NJSIAA power point rankings that included matches through Jan. 15. Last season Point Beach beat Manville, 37-25, in the sectional championship match.

“Knowing that we’re capable of winning another sectional title just makes us work even harder,” Liguori said.

“That’s hopefully our goal every year, but we have a long way to go until we get there,” Bower said.

Step one was taking back the division crown, and the major hurdle was cleared on Wednesday.


Box Score

Point Beach 50, Shore 24

138: Jarrett Weir (S) d. Danny Savage 8-6 OT

145: Jason Sherlock (PB) p. Jack McCrae 2:08

152: Jimmy Sherlock (PB) p. Dean Smolokoff 2:55

160: Jason Bowers (PB) tf. Garret Shaffery 4:07 (15-0)

170: Austin Cannon (S) p. Sean Gould 2:56

182: Jack Baker (PB) by forfeit

195: Cody Liguori (PB) d. Mike Rosati 4-3

220: Nick Kenmure (PB) by forfeit

Hwt: Cade Watkins (PB) p. Namir Steven 0:53

106: Will Jarvis (PB) p. Ross Dougherty 0:46

113: Matt Klemser (S) p. Dominick Waldman 1:55

120: Brad Smuro (S) p. Jesse Bowers 5:04

126: Al DeSantis (S) d. Jude Lovgren 5-3

132: Roddy Rupp (PB) by forfeit

Records: at Shore (7-4, 2-1); Point Beach (11-0, 4-0).


Wrestling editor Bob Badders can be reached at badders@allshoremedia.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.


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