Nick Costa knew he had to be patient on Wednesday night.
Costa, a junior 182-pounder for Brick Memorial, had to pin Jackson Memorial junior James Langschultz in order for Brick Memorial to win the match.
However, knowing you have to pin when all the opponent is trying to do is stay off his back can make pinning extremely difficult, even for someone who is a pinner, like Costa.
“It’s frustrating,” Costa said. “I waited for my opportunity, and when I had it, I wasn’t letting go.”
Costa finally got his opportunity late in the second period, and he took advantage of it. He pinned Langschultz with 11.4 seconds left in the second period to give Brick Memorial, ranked No. 2 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10 and No. 6 in the New Jersey Wrestling Writers Association Top 20, a dramatic 27-26 win over Jackson Memorial in a fascinating Shore Conference Class A South match before a noisy sellout crowd at Joe Perry Gymnasium.
Costa’s pin not only sent the Brick Memorial coaching staff, wrestlers and fans ecstatic, it also enabled the Mustangs (12-2, 4-1) to remain tied in the loss column for the Class A South lead with Toms River South (11-2, 4-1) and Southern (4-4, 3-1). Brick Memorial wrestles at Southern next Wednesday night.
Jackson Memorial, ranked No. 4 in the APP Top 10 and No. 12 NJWWA Top 20, is now a match behind the leaders.
Costa, the District 23 champion at 152, was leading 4-0 and riding Langschultz when he hammerlocked Langschultz and put him to his back.
“I kind of rolled through and just held on,” said Costa, who recently returned to the lineup after an injury to the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee suffered during football season
Costa’s pin was preceeded by a pin by Tyler Richardson (170), the Region VI third-place finisher at 170 last year.
“I knew Tyler had to make something happen, and once he did it, I knew I had to make something happen, too,” Costa said.
“We knew we were finishing with two of our best guys on our team,” said a relieved Brick Memorial coach Dan O’Cone. “It’s nice to lean on a kid that’s a senior (Richardson) and a kid that’s a junior who have wrestled a combined seven years combined. If you can’t pin those guys (the Jackson Memorial wrestlers) than you don’t deserve to win.”
“It’s wrestling. You never feel you’re in good shape until you have a match sewn up,” said Jackson Memorial coach Aaron Gottesman. “Brick Memorial is a very dangerous team. They have a lot of dangerous wrestlers who can put you to your back in a lot of spots.”
Brick Memorial, which was defeated by Toms River South and Bergen Catholic last Saturday, was put in a precarious position when the Jaguars won the bouts at 132 and 160.
Jarrett DiGiantomasso (132) beat three-time state qualifier Jared Staub, 2-1, on a locking hands call and and an escape in the final 25 seconds. Connor Bohringer (160) defeated Joe Beverly, the District 23 third-place finisher at 160 last year, 6-5, on a reversal with 31.6 seconds left in an action-packed bout.
Jackson Memorial senior Spencer Young, a three-time Region VI qualifier, also defeated Cliff Ruggiero, the District 23 champion and Region VI semifinalist last year, 4-3, in an enthralling 152-pound bout in which Ruggiero was close to having Young on his back late in the second period.
“It started feeling deja-vu from Saturday,” O’Cone said. “We weren’t scoring and we kept the matches too close.”
Brick Memorial did win an intriguing 126-pound bout when Joe Ghione (126), a two-time state sixth-place finisher, defeated Alec Huxford, 2-1, on a takedown in the first period. Huxford, the Region VI runner-up at 106 in 2011, who was wrestling his first scholastic bout since Jan, 5, 2012, rode Ghione out in the second period and Ghione rode Huxford out in the third period. The two split bouts during the 2010-2011 season.
“We kind of knew he (Huxford) was going to be back. We heard rumblings,” O’Cone said.
“I’m never happy with a loss, but for us to compete with that team this year — a team some people considered at the beginning of the year was going to make a run for the No. 1 team in New Jersey — overall I felt we had a decent performance,” Gottesman said.