A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wrestlers Compete in State Championships

The Matawan Regional High School wrestling team sent competitors to the Shore Conference state championships in Atlantic City this year. I've excerpted a laudatory Asbury Park Press article from Sat 6 March 2009 and added an update from USA Today. Be sure to congratulate the team and its coach for their superb performance this year. And don't forget to support all our local teams!

Proving their might

Shore sees 26 wrestlers advance to today's quarterfinals


ATLANTIC CITY — The opening night of the NJSIAA Wrestling Championships saw many of the power teams in the Shore Conference advance multiple wrestlers to the quarterfinals.

Twenty-six Region VI wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals from Friday night's pre-quarterfinals before a crowd of 7,365 at Boardwalk Hall. The quarterfinals will take place at Boardwalk Hall at 10 a.m. today. The semifinals will be at 5 p.m. today.

Long Branch, the No. 1 ranked team in both the Gannett New Jersey Top 20 and New Jersey Coaches Association Top 25, had five wrestlers advance. Group IV state champion Brick Memorial has three quarterfinalists. Group IV runner-up Southern has four quarterfinalists. Toms River North has two quarterfinalists, as does Toms River East. Matawan also has two quarterfinalists.

That's right, Matawan, which until last Saturday, had not had a region champion since 1997, has two state quarterfinalists in junior 125-pounder Johnny Short and senior 135-pounder Cesare Antista.

According to Matawan assistant coach Joe DiMario, who was a state champion in 1989 while at Manalapan, Friday night was the first time a Matawan wrestler had won a bout in the state tournament since 1997 when Justin Haskins finished fifth at 152. Antista, the Region VI third-place finisher at 135, went 2-0 on the night and Short, the Region VI champion at 125, won his only bout of the night.

Matawan has had only four state placewinners in its history and never two in one year. If both Short and Antista win one bout today, they will be state placewinners.

"This helps make the program more visible to people in our town," DiMario said. "This will get more kids out. Our rec team had 60-something kids on it. Our middle school team had 30-something kids. We had 28 kids on the freshman team. Six years ago, we had 15 kids on the team."

Short (34-3) avenged a defeat to Don Bosco Prep's Frank Acosta earlier this season by recording a 4-0 win in the pre-quarterfinals. He will meet St. Augustine Prep's A.J. Fisher in the quarterfinals.

Antista (32-1) majored Parsippany's Anthony Mariano 16-5 in the preliminary round and then defeated South River's Adam Mongelli 9-3.

"I felt pretty confident because I had beaten Mongelli during the year," Antista said. "I knew I had to wrestle hard because there's no easy matches at the states. Right now, my goal is to keep going as far as I can."

Antista, who will wrestle Wallkill Valley's Kodie Silvestri, the state runner-up at 130 last year, in the quarterfinals, is one of three Region VI wrestlers in the quarterfinals at 135.

UPDATE: USA Today later reported that Short defeated St. Augustine 7-5 in the semifinals in the 125 weight class but later lost to Willingboro 4-2 in the consolation semifinals. Antista was defeated in the quarterfinals 13-3 in the 135 weight class by Wallkill Valley.

1 comment:

  1. I can't say it enough. Coaches Lasko, Dimario and Pappas did great work this year. And I hope those boy inspire other kids to join the wrestling program. Great Job Coaches and Wrestlers. I have high hopes Johnny Short next year.