The Bound Brook High School wrestling team’s quest for a 10th NJSIAA Central Group I crown got off to a good start when Roselle Park showed up.
After a stunning no-show forfeit by New Egypt in last year’s sectional final, the Crusaders took full advantage of having a live opponent and posted a 54-9 triumph Friday to punch their ticket to Sunday’s Group I semifinals at Toms River’s Pine Belt Arena.
“Last year we were robbed of the opportunity to actually wrestle for a sectional title in front of our crowd, so it was nice to get the chance tonight,” Bound Brook coach Shaun Cleary said. “I thought we could have won every match and that didn’t happen. But I thought we did well.”
The highlight came at 154 pounds, when Bound Brook sophomore Joshua Ugalde pinned Roselle Park’s Brian Matthews, who entered the match with a 24-0 record.
“The match was close. Our kid was down, and he had big move at the end” Cleary said. “I told the kids at this stage, as we get ready for districts, you have to find a way to win.’ He found a way to win.”
Ugalde improved to 24-1 win the triumph. Sophomore 120-pounder Craig De La Cruz improved to 26-1 with a 44-second fall against Andy Santamaria. Bound Brook (21-3) will attempt to defend its Group I title against a stacked field of semifinalists that includes Paulsboro and Kittatiny.
“We’re excited,” Cleary said. “We’ve waited all year to get back down there and defend our title.”