DALY, CONNORS, MULLER, CHAPMAN WIN VS P-BURG
Competing against some of the best became quite an experience for the No. 19 Cranford High School wrestling Cougars when they hosted a trimeet involving the No. 9 Phillipsburg Stateliners and the Old Bridge Knights in Cranford on January 6. The 5-1 Cougars did experience a 53-16 setback to the 7-0 Stateliners but rebounded with a 46-28 victory over the 4-3 Knights.
The comeback match against the Knights began in the 144-lb class and Cougar Eoghan O’Hara quickly pinned Aidan Roman with an arm bar stack in just 23 seconds. After being taken to the mat with a cradle takedown by Kevin Hickey at 150lbs, Cougar Lucas Gutierrez escaped, added a reversal in the second period then pinned him in 3:40 with a tight waist/arm bar. The Knights made the team score 12-3 when leg wrestler Jake Tenebruso recorded a leg around takedown and a whizzer-and-throw reversal to grab a 4-0 decision over Owen Woodruff at 157-lbs.
At 165-lbs, Cougar Dylan Jones used his football experience to take Temil Odumbo to the mat with a double-leg tackle. He continued with an arm bar and “leg” half nelson to collect three nearfall points then he finished the job with an arm bar/half nelson in 3:40. Nobody challenged Jordan Chapman at 175-lbs, so the Cougars’ lead elevated to 24-3.
Joey Acinapura tacked on six more team points when he flattened Gage Gojani with a lateral throw in 38 seconds at 190-lbs. The Knights won at 215-lbs when Zach Florio used a lateral throw to pin Jake Ulicki in 1:23. Knight heavyweight Dom Paulino narrowed the team score to 30-15 with a 30-second pin over Mason Wolf.
Mike Daly upped the Cougars’ lead to 36-15 at 106-lbs when he made good on an arm bar/walk around maneuver to settle Joe Nalewajko in 3:22. At the beginning of his bout, Daly pulled off a four-point Turk takedown, added a bar/half nelson nearfall and another takedown for an 8-1 lead after the first period. Daly added an escape and another takedown before finishing the job.
At 113-lbs, Knight Gavin Young gave Joey Tona a tough time with a takedown and a two-point nearfall in the first period then he added a reversal and a pair of Merkel takedowns to claim a 10-2, majority decision. Cougar Jim Delfino and Viktor Ilnytskyi traded off takedowns, escapes and nearfalls in a wild bout at 120-lbs. Ilnytskyi finally emerged victorious when he pinned Delfino in 5:34.
Cougar Ryder Connors punished Dan Ferraro at 126-lbs with a series of takedowns, a pair of nearfalls and a reversal to seize a 14-3, majority decision. Cougar Brandon DePaulo took Jason Delahanty to the mat at 132-lbs with a low side single then pinned him in 1:04 with an arm bar/ under half nelson. In the final bout, CougarAlex Muller initiated the scoring with a takedown but Griff Nugent later answered with a nearfall and a reversal to earn a 5-2 decision.
In the earlier morning bout against Phillipsburg, the Cougars won four bouts. Muller won by 8-0, majority decision over Anthony Ashford at 138-lbs. Chapman pinned Liam Packer in 1:15 at 175-lbs, Daly won by 6-3 decision over Anthony Pettinelli at 106-lbs and Connors beat Sean Negron, 11-8, at 126-lbs.
For P-burg, Gavin Geleta (132) won by 14-4, majority decision over DiPaulo and Luke Geleta (144) won by 13-2 majority decision over O’Hara. Gavin Hawk (150) pinned Gutierrez, Pat Day (157) pinned Woodruff and Jon Roth (165) beat Jones, 9-4. Derek Stone (190) pinned Acinapura, Nate Smith (215) pinned Ulicki and Ben Ellis (285) won by forfeit. Massimo Gonzalez (113) pinned Tona and Owen Garriques (120) pinned Delfino.