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The Shore Sports Network's latest Shore Conference wrestling team rankings feature stability at spots one through eight and chaos the rest of the way. These rankings are brought to you by IronHouse Performance Center.

The most difficult part of the rankings was separating the quintet of Raritan, Colts Neck, Lacey, Jackson Liberty, and Point Boro with Ocean also factoring in. There are triangles galore. Colts Neck has wins over Ocean, Jackson Liberty, and Manalapan but just lost to Lacey and Raritan in consecutive matches. Jackson Liberty lost to Colts Neck but beat Lacey. Lacey lost to Raritan in December but just knocked off Point Boro and Colts Neck in matches decided by one point, only to fall to Manalapan by one point. Raritan is mostly out of the triangle but does have a loss to Ocean along with wins over Lacey and Colts Neck. Point Boro has a one-point loss to Lacey and a four-point loss to Jackson Memorial but hasn't defeated any of the teams mentioned above. Ocean is coming off a huge week in which it defeated Raritan, Jackson Memorial, and Long Branch as part of a 5-0 stretch but does have a five-point loss to Colts Neck from December.

It's complicated and we did our best to sort it out this week. It's clear by now that these teams are evenly matched. That can be said for much of the rankings in what has been a very competitive dual-meet season. The battle for No. 1 between CBA and Southern came down to the final bout. No. 3 St. John Vianney and No. 4 Rumson will clash next week in what looks to be a slugfest. A match between Howell and Brick Memorial would be very intriguing, as would one between Brick Memorial and Middletown North.

Bob Badders | rpbphotography.com
Bob Badders | rpbphotography.com
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Shore Sports Network Wrestling Shore 16 Team Rankings

 

1. Christian Brothers Academy (7-1). Last week: No. 1

The Colts placed fifth at the prestigious Escape the Rock Tournament with freshman Killian Coluccio winning the 107-pound title to lead the way. Freshman Paul Kenny was the 114-pound runner-up while sophomore Bobby Duffy (121) and senior Alex Nini (145) placed third. CBA then cleared its final major hurdle in Class A North with a 44-28 win over No. 6 Howell. Up next: at Brunswick (CT) Invitational (Sat., 1/20); vs. Marlboro (Wed., 1/24)

 

2. Southern (7-1). Last week: No. 2

The Rams placed sixth at the powerful Escape the Rock Tournament with Bryce Manera (133) and Matt Henrich (152) placing second to lead the way. Sophomore Anthony Mason was fourth at 107, senior Collin French placed seventh at 215, and junior Hayden Hochstrasser was sixth at 160. That was their only action of the week with their annual clash with Phillipsburg being canceled and a match with South Plainfield snowed out. Up next: vs. Old Bridge (Sat., 1/20); vs. Delbarton (Wed., 1/24).

 

3. St. John Vianney (5-0). Last week: No. 3

The Lancers picked up a huge victory when they traveled up to Oradell and returned with a 33-28 win over Bergen Catholic in a matchup of top-10 teams in the state. Junior Jake Zaltsman won a key bout over Noah Kochman and junior Anthony Knox closed the door in the final bout. SJV also defeated Monmouth in a Class A Central match to set up a showdown with Rumson for the division title. Up next: vs. Pope John and Holy Spirit (Sat., 1/20; vs. No. 4 Rumson-Fair Haven (Wed., 1/24).

 

4. Rumson-Fair Haven (7-0). Last week: No. 4 

The Bulldogs swept a tri-meet with wins over Westfield and No. 14 Jackson Liberty and then picked up an important Class A Central victory with a 37-25 win over No. 7 Red Bank Catholic. The dual was already decided before the final bout, but those who stayed to the end witnessed Rumson junior Matt Smith defeating top-ranked RBC senior heavyweight Lorenzo Portella, 5-4. An even bigger match is on top for this coming Wednesday. Up next: Saturday vs. Middletown South (Sat., 1/20); at No. 3 St. John Vianney (Wed., 1/24); at No. 11 Jackson Memorial (Thu., 1/25).

 

5. Brick Memorial (6-2). Last week: No. 5

The Mustangs went 2-1 during the week with wins over St. Thomas Aquinas and Toms River North and a seven-point loss to Cranford. Up next: vs. Paulsboro (at Southern, Sat., 1/20); vs. Toms River East (Wed., 1/24); at No. 11 Ocean (Thu., 1/25).

 

6. Howell (8-2). Last week: No. 6 

A 3-2 week for the Rebels included wins over No. 8 Middletown North, Absegami, and Hightstown, a loss to No. 1 CBA, and a three-point loss to Monroe. Senior JJ Machnik defeated two-time region champion Tyler Venet during the CBA match. Up next: at Jack Welsh Duals (Sat., 1/20); at Old Bridge (Mon., 1/22); at Watchung Hills (Tue., 1/23); at Freehold (Wed., 1/24).

 

7. Red Bank Catholic (5-2). Last week: No. 7

RBC was 2-1 on the week with wins over Egg Harbor and Highland and a 37-25 loss to No. 4 Rumson. Up next: at Holmdel with Wall and Monmouth (Sat., 1/20); at St. Peter's Prep (Thu., 1/24).

 

8. Middletown North (9-2). Last week: No. 8 

After suffering a 38-29 loss to No. 6 Howell, the Lions responded with three straight wins over Wall, Somerville, and Middletown South. Up next: vs. Matawan and Hillsborough (Sat., 1/20); at Manalapan (Wed., 1/23).

 

9. Holmdel (8-2). Last week: No. 11

The Hornets placed third at the Buc Classic minus standout sophomore Alex Reyes, who instead competed at the Escape the Rock Tournament. Anthony Paulino won the 128-pound title to lead the way w while Dylan Placca (113), Nicholas Paulino (120), AJ Fernandez (132), and Jack Cleary (157) each placed second. Holmdel's lone dual of the week was a 48-21 win over Red Bank. Up next: vs. No. 7 Red Bank Catholic, Monmouth, Wall (Sat., 1/20); vs. Manchester (Wed., 1/24).

 

10. Ocean (9-1). Last week: No. 13

The Spartans move up three spots after a 5-0 week that included wins over No. 12 Raritan, No. 11 Jackson Memorial, DePaul, Freehold Township, and previous No. 16 Long Branch. Ocean recently welcomed back senior Michael Poniros to the lineup and is rounding into form heading into the latter stages of the team season. Up Next: vs. Barnegat, Toms River South, Neptune (Sat., 1/20); vs. Red Bank (Wed., 1/24); vs. No. 5 Brick Memorial (Thu., 1/25).

 

11. Jackson Memorial (7-4). Last week: No. 9 

The Jaguars drop two spots after a 44-31 loss to Ocean. They also picked up wins over Freehold Township and DePaul. Up next: vs. No. 15 Lacey (Mon., 1/2); at Central (Wed., 1/24); vs. No. 4 Rumson-Fair Haven (Thu., 1/25).

 

12. Raritan (8-5). Last week: not ranked

The Rockets jump into the rankings at No. 12 thanks to a 4-1 week headlined by a 37-33 win over Colts Neck. Raritan also had wins over Edison, Glen Ridge, and Middletown South, and a loss to No. 10 Ocean. Raritan also has a win over Lacey from earlier in the season. Up next: vs. Morris Knolls (at Southern, Sat., 1/20); vs. Toms River North (Tue., 1/23).

 

13. Colts Neck (9-3). Last week: No. 12

The Cougars posted wins over Freehold, Toms River East, and Manalapan before dropping consecutive close matches to No. 15 Lacey (37-35) and No. 12 Raritan (37-33). The win over Manalapan helped Colts Neck drop only one spot since the Braves defeated Lacey during the same quad to create a triangle. Colts Neck also has wins over Ocean, Jackson Liberty, and Long Branch. Up next: at Brick with Red Bank and Marlboro (Sat., 1/20); vs. Matawan (Wed., 1/24).

 

14. Jackson Liberty (6-4). Last week: No. 14

Liberty stands pat at No. 14 off a 3-1 week that included wins over previous No. 15 Donovan Catholic and No. 16 Long Branch and a loss to No. 4 Rumson. The win over Donovan set up a match with Point Boro for the Class B South division title where the Lions can win the outright championship. Up next: at Freehold Township with Pinelands and Toms River North (Sat., 1/20); vs. Lakewood (Wed., 1/24).

 

15. Lacey (7-3). Last week: not ranked

Only a one-point loss to Manalapan separated the Lions from a massive week. Lacey delivered consecutive one-point victories over Point Boro (36-35) and Colts Neck (37-36) to force its way into the rankings. They also defeated Toms River East and Manasquan. Up next: at Washington Township with Absegami and Gloucester Tech; at No. 11 Jackson Memorial (Tue., 1/22); vs. Long Branch (Thu., 1/25).

 

16. Point Boro (4-2). Last week: No. 10

The Panthers tumble six spots following a 1-1 week where they lost 36-35 to Lacey and defeated Lakewood 68-6. Point Boro has competed in only one dual outside of Class B South and that was a 32-28 loss to No. 11 Jackson Memorial. Up next: vs. South Plainfield (at Southern, Sat., 1/20); vs. Princeton (Mon., 1/22); vs. Barnegat (Wed., 1/24).

 

Dropped out: Donovan Catholic (No. 15 last week); Long Branch (No. 16 last week)

 

On the bubble:

Manalapan (5-5)

 

 

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