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"Once you've wrestled, everything in life is easy." - Dan Gable

ANNOUNCEMENT: On Sunday, January 7th, Barnegat will be wrestling New Milford at the Rutgers Athletic Center before the Scarlet Knights host #2 Ohio State in a Big 10 showdown. This will be a PACKED event and is a great chance to support one of our own, as well as Rutgers. You can get tickets through Barnegat HS by calling 609-660-7510 x7002, or by emailing Coach MacIver at wrestlingcoach@msn.com. Don't miss out!


How come I didn't mention yesterday was the first day of practice? Honestly, I didn't want to think about. The thought of everyone getting back on the mats, getting in shape, and starting to focus on their weight for the season can sometimes really drag me down when I'm working on my fourth plate of turkey on Thanksgiving. Actually, I forgot. I'm still used to first practice of the year being on the Friday after Thanksgiving at 8am, and I'm pretty sure that ended like 10-15 years ago. We also wrestled when there was snow on the ground, wrestled on mats that were taped together in sections, gave our ringworm cute names, and had headphones that were actually smaller than our headgear.

With a lull in the college action due to the holiday, I'll be quiet here on the main page for the next few days, but I'll leave you with a story that some of you older fans may, or may not, find interesting or even mildly entertaining.

March, 1994. Atlantic City. Jon Frent of Ocean Township is in the State Tournament as the #2 or #3 seed at 135. At this point, Ocean had only one wrestler ever make the podium at States, and that was a 3rd place finish back in 1981. We're all really pumped that not only does Frent have a chance to medal, but he has a great shot at winning it all, with only #1 seed Brett Matter of Delran seen as the major obstacle.

After weigh-ins, we hit the McDonald's that used to be on the pier and stuffed our faces with delicious fried grease patties, while Jon and Woo Jae Lee, who also qualified for the tournament that season, watch us with absolute disdain. On a side note, one of the great ways to build team "unity" during wrestling season was to torment Frent by constantly putting McDonald's hamburgers in his locker, his wrestling bag, his mailbox at home, and his varsity jacket, among other places. Someone may have even loaded his wrestling shoes with fries and McNuggets once, but I won't admit to that.

Anyway... we head back to the room, Jon, Woo, Andrew Klapholz, and myself, and decide to have a contest to see who can pick the most State Champs. Everything is going fine until we hit 135. I pick Jon Frent. Andrew picks Jon Frent. Woo picks Jon Frent. Jon Frent picks... Brett Matter. Long story short, the finals come around, and it's Matter vs. Frent at 135, with Matter winning either 6-3 or 6-5. Frent loses the state final, but ultimately wins our State Champs pool by a single point, finishing ahead of two of us by 1 champ.

To this day, I'm not 100% certain he didn't throw that match to get the ultimate prize, free McDonald's. We were in high school, where do you want us to eat? Spago? He was REALLY looking forward to being able to eat again, and one of the few things he enjoyed more than 25 cent hamburger Mondays at McDonald's, was FREE 25 cent hamburger Mondays at McDonald's. Of course, McDonald's Monday ALWAYS took a back seat to Sizzler Saturdays, where our 135-pounder would become our 152-pounder by the time we left. Good times. Miss ya, buddy.

State Championship Selection Contest. One of the first of my many, many losing year of picks.


Dates Of Importance

11/27: Official Start of Practice
12/15: Opening Day
1/15: 2-Pound Growth Allowance (Fat Monday)
1/26-27: Shore Conference Tournament
1/27: State Sectional Cutoff
1/30: Sectional Seeding
2/3: End of 30-match Season
2/5,7,9: State Sectionals
2/11: Group Championships @ Pine Belt Arena in Toms River
2/16-17: Districts
2/21, 23-24: Regions
3/2-4: State Championships in Atlantic City



College Notes from Sunday

Black Knight Invitational
Wrestling at 157 for Rutgers, Brett Donner (Wall) went 3-2 on the day to finish in 5th place. Also on the mats for the Scarlet Knights from the Shore were Luck Ecklof (St JohnVianney) at 125, and Will Scott (Brick Twp) at 184.

Keystone Classic
Northwestern's Sebastian Rivera (CBA) won by fall, tech, major, and decision to capture the 125-pound championship at the Keystone. Wrestling for Rider, BJ Clagon (TR South) won his first two bouts by a pin and a tech, before injury defaulting out of the tournament in the semis. Also competing at the Keystone for Sacred Heart were Pat O'Donnell (TR North) and Joe Toci (Southern)

NYS Intercollegiate Championships
Matt Russo (Jackson Liberty) went 5-1 on the day to finish in 5th place for Cornell at 149. Jack LaCorte (CBA) was also 5-1 and finished in 5th at 197 for NYU.
AJ Meyers (TR East) went 3-2, with 2 pins, wrestling at 165 for Columbia. Roddy Rupp (Pt Beach) represented USMMA at 149.

Star City Tournament
A good number of Shore alum representing Stevens Tech in the Star City Tournament. Yoseph Borai (TR East), Zach Wilhelm (Southern), and Thomas Poklikuha (Pinelands) all took 1st place in their respective weight classes, while Dylan Van Sickell (CBA) placed 2nd for the Ducks. Also competing for Stevens were Mike Heck (Pinelands), Carl Vasti (CBA), and Ryan and James Jachim (Brick Twp). Joe Ghione (Brick Memorial) won by fall in the finals to claim the 149-pound title for Elizabethtown.

Wolfpack Open
Ronny Ghaida (Manalapan) went 3-2 to finish in 4th place for Virginia Tech at 157. 


Some notes from yesterday's college action featuring Shore Conference alumni. There were a few events without a lot of info (BOOOOO!!!) but I'll make mentions anyway.

Mike Oxley (CBA) and Jake Kaminsky (Manalapan) represented Hofstra at the Navy Classic. Yeah, that's all I got on that one.

Nick Racanelli (Southern) went 1-1 for Wilkes in the Mt. Union Duals.

Joseph Borai (TR East), Dylan VanSickell (CBA), Zach Wilhelm (Southern), and Thomas Poklikuha (Pinelands) were in the lineup for Stevens Tech, with Borai and Wilhelm recording victories, in the Ducks dual loss to Ferrum.

Chris Nielsen (Pinelands) went 2-2, including a pinfall, for Dubuque, wrestling at 184 in the CUW Open. 

TCNJ had four Shore alumni in the lineup in David Santiago (Brick Twp), Anthony Gagliano (Howell), Luke Balina (Long Branch), and Kyle Cocozza (Howell), in a 23-10 loss to York.

Representing the host school of Springfield were Connor Sheehan (Raritan) who was 2-2 at 184, and Connor Bohringer (Jackson Memorial), who went 1-2 also at 184 with a tech. Matt McGowan (Jackson Memorial) continued his strong collegiate start, going 4-1 to place 2nd at 141 for the Coast Guard Academy. Wrestling for Centenary, Alec Donovan (Brick Memorial) also placed 2nd, recording 4 wins by fall to advance to the 165 finals before dropping a one point decision. Also repping Centenary were Nick Rivera (Brick Memorial) who went 3-2 to place 4th at heavyweight, and Thomas Hinz (Red Bank Regional) who was 1-2 at 157. Dylan DaSilva (TR North) went 5-1 on the day to finish in 5th place at 184 for Plymouth State. While Tyler Tweedie (Pt Boro) represented New England College at 125.

Plenty of action on tap for today. I'll be back either later tonight, or early tomorrow with more notes.


RIP Malcolm Young. I don't think there's a wrestling room in America that didn't blast ACDC.

Archives on team pages for 2005 & 2006 are back online. Be back later tonight, or early tomorrow with college notes from today.


Congratulations to CBA's Richie Koehler, who has committed to attend Rider University next year. COLLEGE COMMITMENT LIST.

Be back late Saturday night, or early Sunday morning, with college notes from Saturday's action. See you then.


Congratulations to all of this year's inductees into the JSIWA Hall of Fame. Last night's ceremony at the Woodlake Country Club was a great time. Truly an honor to be among so many of the great and distinguished members of the Shore Conference Wrestling community... and Murph.

Also, special thanks to Coach Denny D'Andrea for introducing me.

2017 JSIWA Hall of Fame Inductees

Rich Dunnells - Raritan
Kurt Pellegrino - Pt Boro
John Verderosa - Manalapan
Marc Rosenfeld - Brick Memorial
Pat Brady - Pt Boro
Bill Scott - Brick Memorial
Nick Vinciguerra - Jackson Memorial
Frank D'Esposito - Some Website
1986 Brick Memorial Wrestling Team


Say it with me... SAME OLD JETS! And how about them Giants? Just a banner year for New York football. At least we have our red hot New York Rangers, am I right?

Mucho progress made on team pages and pre-season prep over the weekend, as we get closer and closer to the 2018 season.

Now for a few college notes involving some Shore Conference alumni from yesterday.

Will Scott (Brick Twp) was one of four Rutgers wrestlers competing in Sunday's tournament, going 1-2 for the Knights at 174. Mike Oxley (CBA) also went 1-2 on the day, competing for Hofstra at 197.

Mike Russo (Jackson Liberty) went 4-0, including packing his opponent in 58 seconds in the finals, to claim the 125-pound title for Cornell. Brother, Matt Russo (Jackson Liberty) also competed for the Big Red at 149 pounds. Brick Memorial grad Gianni Ghione made his collegiate debutat 133 for Penn, going 5-2 (with three pins) to finish in 6th place. AJ Meyers (TR East) also made his college debut, wrestling at 165 for Columbia. 

After suffering a season-ending injury last January while at St John Vianney, Luke Ecklof made his return to the mat, and went 3-2, representing Rutgers at 125. Anthony Vetrano (Middletown North) went 1-2, competing at 165 for Bloomsburg. Eric Keosseian (Howell) went 1-2, representing USMAPS at 285. Chris Crane (Southern) went 1-2 at 133, wrestling for Kutztown.


Getting more and more done to the pages to get ready for the 2018 season. Yeah, I know, you're only interested in actual content. Ok then... here's some college notes from yesterday.

Rutgers University topped #19 Oklahoma, and Virginia, to go 2-0 in yesterday's Journeymen Northeast Duals. Brett Donner (Wall) made his dual-meet debut for the Knights, competing at 157.

Other Shore notes from the Duals: Brian Hamann (Jackson Memorial), ranked #19 in the nation at 165, went 3-0 on the day, with a pin and a tech, for NC State. Also, Joe Toci (Southern) and Patrick O'Donnell (TR North) were in the lineup for Sacred Heart.

Lots of Shore Conference Alum on the mats at the Fall Brawl in Collegeville, Pa. TCNJ had Shore reps in Tom Anderson (Middletown North) and Austin Maltez (Colts Neck). Anderson had four wins and placed 4th at 184, while Maltez picked up a tech fall as part of a 1-2 day at 125. A trio of SC-alumni entered the tourney for Ursinus College. At 133, Colin Monahan (Freehold Boro) won his opening bout, but then had to injury default out of the tourney. Pat Ammirati (Holmdel) went 3-2 at 141, while Liam Tibbett (Freehold Boro) went 2-2 at 184. Representing Delaware Valley were Anthony Costanza (Brick Twp), who placed 4th at 174, and Chris Richardson (Brick Memorial), who competed at 157 for the Aggies. It was the college debut for both wrestlers. Wrestling for Elizabethtown, Joe Ghione (Brick Memorial) went 4-1 on the day, to finish 2nd at 149. Out of his four wins, he scored a pin, a tech, and a major.  

At the NY/PA Duals, Jack LaCorte (CBA) went a perfect 3-0, wrestling at 197 for NYU. Nick Racanelli (Southern) was also a clean 3-0 on the day, wrestling at 165 for Wilkes.

Wrestling for Iowa Central, Tyree Sutton (Keansburg) went 4-1 on the day, with his only loss coming in OT, to finish 3rd at the Grand View Open. It is the 2nd Top 4 tourney finish in two weeks for Sutton.

Making his college debut for the Coast Guard Academy, Matt McGowan (Jackson Memorial) went 5-0 to win the 141-pound championship at the Roger Williams Invitational. Also competing for the Coast Guard was TR South alum, Owen McClave who went 2-1 before medically withdrawing from the tournament. McClave finished in the Top 6 at 133. Nick Wagner (Wall) also made his collegiate debut, going 1-2 for Roger Williams at 141. 

Back tomorrow, or perhaps later tonight, with any blurbs for alumni at the college level from today's action.


A Happy Friday to you all. We're creeping up on the first official day of practices... getting close.

Couple things for today, and then I'll check back in over the weekend with some college notes.

First, I've switched over the COLLEGE COMMITMENTS PAGE to 2018. The first two commitments are up with Ocean Township's Jake Benner committing to Rutgers University, and Donovan Catholic's Conor Panzarella committing to Campbell University. Have commitment news? Email DESPO424@comcast.net. Email is back up and running for good after its summer break.

Like rankings? Who doesn't? Intermat has updated their high school individual and team rankings for 2018. 

Three Shore Conference wrestlers are in the pre-season Top 20 for their weight classes:

Kyle Slendorn (Howell) - #15 at 132
Jake Benner (Ocean Township) - #18 at 145
Rob Kanniard (Wall) - #19 at 160

On the team front, Howell is ranked #37 in the country. The Rebels are one of four teams from New Jersey in the Top 50, and the lone NJ public school.

For Intermat's Rankings....... CLICK HERE!

34 Days Until Opening Night!


Three days in a row with updates? We're getting closer and closer, aren't we?

Updated the COLLEGE ROLL CALL PAGE with a list of Shore Conference Wrestlers competing at the NCAA level from Division 1-3. Some teams still have not updated their rosters (BOO!) on their websites, so I may have a few guys missing. I'll update once they do. If you see someone that needs to be added to the teams that are on there, email me, and I'll get them up.


A few local notes from yesterday's college action.

Representing Rider, BJ Clagon (TR South) participated in the NWCA All-Star Classic. Clagon, ranked #7 in the nation at 157, defeated 6th-ranked Alec Pantaleo of Michigan, 10-4.

Tyree Sutton (Keansburg) finished in 4th place in the 197-pound bracket for Iowa Central at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open/

At the Hokie Open, Manalapan's Ronny Ghaida made his collegiate debut, going 2-2 for Virginia Tech at 157 pounds.

Anthony Vetrano (Middletown North) represented Bloomsburg in the 165-pound weight class at the Clarion Open.


And the college season is underway!

We start with Rutgers, who opened their season by topping Maryland, 27-9, on the football field at High Point Solutions Stadium. Pretty cool to see 4-time State Champ, Nick Suriano, on the mat for the Scarlet Knights, and he debuted in dominant fashion, winning by tech fall at 125. Richie Lewis of Toms River East was the lone Shore Conference alum in the lineup for Rutgers, and he handled his business with a 13-4 major at 157. RUTGERS RECAP

Rider opened their 2018 season as well on Saturday, participating in the Princeton Tiger Open. Brick Twp alum, Dean Sherry, recorded three wins on the day, and finished in the Top 8. He was the only wrestler to go the full 7 minutes with Ohio State's Bo Jordan, a NCAA Finalist last year, dropping an 11-8 decision. Other Shore alum on the mat for Rider were Jovanni Gomez (Long Branch) and Ben Aquilina (Manalapan).

A pair of Brick Memorial alum, Alec Donovan and Nick Rivera, represented Centenary University at Princeton, with Donovan recording three wins at 165, while Rivera got his first collegiate victory competing in the 285-pound bracket.

Other Shore alumni competing in Princeton were Mike Oxley (CBA) for Hofstra, Patrick O'Donnell (TR North) and Joe Toci (Southern) for Sacred Heart, and Eric Keosseian (Howell) for USMAPS.

Some Shore alumni were on the mats in the Messiah Invitational on Saturday. Zach Martin (TR South) picked up his 1st collegiate victory, competing for Elizabethtown. John Downey (Freehold Boro) recorded a pair of pins, as he made his college debut wrestling for Lycoming. Pat Ammirati (Holmdel) had a pair of wins for Ursinus at 141, while Liam Tibbett (Freehold Boro) made his debut for Ursinus at 174. 

At the Ned McGinley Invitational, CBA alumni, Jack LaCorte, went 4-0 on the day to claim the 197-pound championship for NYU. Several Shore alum competed for Scranton, with Nick Ciaccia (Howell) winning three bouts at 141, Kevin Pompilio (Manasquan) at 149, Liam Gallagher (CBA) at 165, and Will Oxley (CBA) at 285. 

At the Ithaca Invitational, Matt Mustillo (Manalapan) made his college debut, competing at Castleton University. Mustillo was at 141, and notched his first two college wins. Johnson & Wales had a trio of Shore wrestlers entered at Ithaca, with Seon Bowker, who spent 3 1/2 years at Southern, placing 5th at 174, and Tanner Kelly (Jackson Mem) and Peyton Blauvelt (Southern) each registering a pair of wins at 184. Tyler Tweedie (Pt Boro) made his college debut, wrestling at 125 for New England College. Connor Sheehan (Raritan) recorded a pair of victories, representing Springfield at 197. Stevens Institute had it's usual strong Shore Conference presence, with Yoseph Borai (TR East) going 5-0 to win the 125-pound championship. Also competing at 125 for the Ducks was Mike Heck (Pinelands), who notched a pair of wins. Dylan Van Sickell (CBA) went 5-2 on the day to finish 5th at 149. Stevens had back to back champs with Zach Wilhelm (Southern) and Thomas Poklikuha (Pinelands) each going 5-0 to win at 157 and 165, respectively. The Ducks had a trio of Shore alum entered at 174 in Carl Vasti (CBA), and Ryan and James Jachim (Brick Twp). 

I know there were a couple other events with Shore alum on the mats yesterday, but it's still pre-season for me, and my hands started cramping. #PoorOffSeasonHandTraining 

I'll have some more college stuff for Monday,and I should begin updating the College Roll Call list for this season over the next week as teams have now really begun to update their rosters on their websites now that the season is underway.

Other than that, finishing up all the archiving of the 2017 season on the team pages, and getting ready to set up the pages for the 2018 season. Only 39 days until Opening Day!

2017 Shore Conference College All-Americans

NCAA D1: Ken Theobold (TR South) - 7th Place, 149-pounds - Rutgers
NCAA D3: Zach Wilhelm (Southern) - 7th Place, 149-pounds - Stevens Tech
NAIA: Tyler Fraley (Colts Neck) - 3rd Place, 141-pounds - Williams Baptist (Ark)


138: Jr - Jake Benner (Ocean Township) - Voted co-Most Outstanding Wrestler
220: Sr - Eric Keosseian (Howell)

2nd Place
126: Jr - Kyle Slendorn (Howell)

3rd Place
132: Sr - Gianni Ghone (Brick Memorial)

4th Place
152: So - Robert Kanniard (Wall)

5th Place
106: So - Hunter Gutierrez (Lacey)
160: Sr - AJ Meyers (TR East)
182: Sr - Tom Anderson (Middletown North)

6th Place
106: Sr - Nick Schutzenhofer (CBA)

7th Place
120: So - Darby Diedrich (Howell)
195: Sr - Matt McKenzie (Wall)

8th Place
145: So - Nicholas O'Connell (Southern)
182: Sr - Christopher Nielsen (Pinelands)