first_imgStaff Writer Jackson, TR East dominate Middletown South tourney Local teams struggle to compete with out-of-towners JERRY WOLKOWITZ Middletown North’s Marc Evans tries to roll over Red Bank Regional’s Nick Delorenzo for a pin during a 112-pound match during the Middletown South Wrestling Tournament on Saturday. Evans went on to beat Delorenzo 9-4 before bowing out in the semifinals. It wasn’t that long ago that the Middletown South Wrestling Tournament was a showcase event for many of the Bayshore area’s finest grapplers. Back when the likes of the legendary Glenn Pritzlaff were dominating the competition on the mats, the host Eagles were always a sure choice to contend for the overall team title, while squads like Middletown North and Rumson-Fair Haven would battle for respect and a good finish against imposing Ocean squads that would always seem to have at least three or four top wrestlers with potential district, region and even state titles on their minds. And to take home a title from the tournament was always an accomplishment worthy of acknowledgment, and a sure sign that you were ready to compete with the area’s, and many of the state’s, best. Because of the quality of wrestling the tournament annually presented, it began to establish a reputation as one of the top holiday-time tournaments in the state, drawing interest from schools outside the Monmouth County wrestling circle. JERRY WOLKOWITZ Middletown South’s Tom Gray tries to escape the hold of Freehold Township’s Chris Stein during a 130-pound match on Saturday. Each year, more and more teams from outside of Monmouth County expressed interest in joining the fray, eager to give their wrestlers a chance at the prestige that came with a win at the Middletown South Tournament. As a result, Saturday’s finals shouldn’t have been much of a surprise, as only one local wrestler made it to the finals against competition hailing from throughout the state. South’s Brian Hennessy entered the finals against Freehold Township’s Rob Morello, knowing exactly what to expect. The two have seen plenty of each other, and after Hennessy beat the 135-pound leader of the Freehold team in a dual meet last year, they have enjoyed a serious rivalry ever since. This time around, Morello, the Region VI runner-up last year, came back to beat Hennessy, taking him down with 14 seconds left in overtime to win 4-2. The bout was one of the more exciting finishes of the tournament, and marked the high point for the local wrestling scene. Hennessy continued to impress, and should be a favorite when the district tournament rolls around. The finals were dominated by a young Jackson team which is proving that it hasn’t lost all that much from last season’s top-ranked team in the Shore Conference. The Jaguars got by a Toms River East team which did not field a full lineup 171 1/2 to 141 1/2, as the Raiders rested up for an important dual meet with the Jags on Jan. 10. However, the Raiders had more winners (four) than Jackson, who took the team title by placing four runners-up and five third-place finishes. In third place for the team title was High Point (137 points) followed by Clifton (93 1/2), Woodbridge (80 1/2) and Pinelands (61). Then came the local teams, Middletown South (46), Middletown North (42), Neptune (36), Allentown (34), Freehold (29) and Red Bank (9). Middletown North junior Marc Evans managed a third-place finish in the 112-pound weight class, beating Pinelands’ David Smith 5-3 in the consolation round. He was joined by teammate Dan Ling, a senior who took third in the 145-pound class with a 9-5 decision. However, North’s Ryan Oswin (130) and Joe Bisking (171) were unable to win their consolation matches. Middletown South also had a few wrestlers survive until the consolation round, where they were beaten. As for Red Bank, only sophomore Brandon Scott (145) made it to the consolation round, where he lost a 13-10 decision. Other local teams were also in action this weekend in a series of nondivisional meets. Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, used a steak of 11 straight wins to overcome Holmdel on Saturday, 65-10. The Hornets won the match’s first two contests at 103 and 112 before the Colts ran off their streak to push their early-season mark to 2-0 heading into tomorrow’s Manchester Hawk Classic. As for the 1-1 Hornets, they will look for a better showing as the host of tomorrow’s Holmdel Christmas Invitational. Other schools that will travel to Holmdel tomorrow are Keyport, coming off a 65-15 loss at the hands of Manchester; St. John Vianney, who topped Keansburg 72-12, and Monmouth 59-11 on Saturday; Red Bank Catholic; Rumson-Fair-Haven; Shore; and a St. Rose squad which lost three matches on Saturday to Point Borough (83-0), Manasquan (72-12) and Donovan (57-15). As for Rumson, they have jumped out of the starting blocks this year and are looking to continue to notch wins early in the season. Led by the sophomore tandem of Patrick Berger (15-3 last year) and Bryan Heller (25-3), the Bulldogs will be a tough match-up for everyone at the Holmdel tournament. Senior Jesse Eckleberry (21-5 last year) will also be a favorite tomorrow. By Doug mckenzie last_img

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