By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr. April 6, 2021
The last day of March and the first day of April 2021 has solidified the Spartans of Ocean Township as one of the best wrestling programs in the Shore Conference this season. They defeated the Hornets of Holmdel 60-18 and then crushed New Brunswick 61-9 improving to 8-0.
Within the Shore Conference the Spartans are 7-0, and within the A Central Division they are 4-0 and on top. The NJSIAA, governing body for scholastic sports and the Shore Conference, have made several changes to their tournament schedule during the pandemic.
A mini-team tournament has been established within the Shore Conference Tournament. Pods have been created with a total of 32 teams to compete. Ocean Township, ranked fifth overall in the Shore Conference, along with top seed Southern, third seed CBA, and fourth seed Howell, have decided not to participate. Instead, they will focus on the NJSIAA individual region tournament which starts on April 17.
One of the biggest changes this season is no district championships. Since 1970, Ocean has produced 114 district champions and won 18 team titles in Districts 22, 23 and 24. Last season four Spartans won District 24 titles; Demetri Poniros, Alex Poniros (both won their third overall titles), Joseph Teresi (his second) and first-time champion Jack Nies.
In the past the regions were held at the RWJBarnabas Health Arena, formerly known as the Ritacco Center in Toms River. This year, the NJSIAA Super Regions will have four locations, with wrestlers from the Shore Conference competing at Hunterdon Central High School. The other three sites are Cherry Hill East High School, Union High School and Mt. Olive High School.
The championships will not be contested in Atlantic City this year. Instead the NJSIAA has selected Phillipsburg High School for the two-day finals starting on April 24. The top four place winners in each of the 14 contested weight divisions at the regions will advance to the finals.
Results from the March 31 match against Holmdel
138 pounds, Michael Poniros (OT) 5-3 decision over Alexander Todisco (Holmdel)
145 pounds, Nicholas Benner (OT) pin over Matteo Pinnero (Holmdel) at 1:28
152 pounds, Kevin Cartagena-Walsh (OT) forfeit win
160 pounds, Shane Cartagena-Walsh (OT) forfeit win
170 pounds, Tah-Jay Phillips (OT) win over Thomas Cleary (Holmdel) injury could not finish
182 pounds, Luke DuPont (Holmdel) pin over Jared Tracey (OT) at 1:15
195 pounds, John Steele (Holmdel) pin over Mateo Chavarriaga, (OT) at 1:23
220 pounds. Hazem Zaky (Holmdel) pin over Iqbal Ahmadi (OT) at 1:14
285 pounds, Joseph Teresi (OT) pin over Jake Leroux (Holmdel) at 1:34
106 pounds, James Farina (OT) forfeit win
113 pounds, Blake Tarnowski (OT) 3-1 decision over Anthony Paulino (Holmdel)
120 pounds, Demetri Poniros (OT) forfeit win
126 pounds, Gio Poniros (OT) pin over Zach Rabkin (Holmdel) at 2:41
132 pounds, AJ Benner (OT) pin over Try Turlenko (Holmdel) at 1:18
Click on photos for captions