Much of the talk on Twitter and the live blog session The Mat Pack produced during the team state championships in Toms River on Sunday mentioned one wrestler who wasn’t with his team.
Delsea Regional High School was missing standout John Pierson, and while it was a major talking point, it came as no surprise that the senior 132-pounder wasn’t going to make the trip up to the Pine Belt Arena with his fellow Crusaders.
Due to the religious beliefs of his family, Pierson, like his two brothers, John and Bob, don’t compete on Sundays. The last five trips Delsea has made to the finals, a Pierson helped them get there but couldn’t help them finish it off.
“It’s a bummer, but we know we can’t try to push him to do what he doesn’t want to do,” Delsea sophomore Tom Carney said. “We wish he was here. To win South Jersey he helped us, he helped us all season.”
Delsea had a plan this year to help cover for missing Pierson in the lineup. Rian Lamanteer went down to 132 and Dylan Recinto went in Lamanteer’s regular spot at 138. To weigh in and wrestle there during the postseason, Lamanteer had to weigh in at 132 earlier this year, and did so against Williamstown on Jan. 30. The plan was in place for weeks.
Pierson has been a particularly strong provider of bonus points this season. He’s 23-8 and just three of those wins have been of the three-point variety.
Pierson played a key role in two of the Crusaders’ biggest matches of the year — a pair of wins over Clearview. In the first, Pierson pinned Dave Madden in 35 seconds in the penultimate bout. The second time, Clearview simply forfeited to Pierson. Both matches were by less than six points.
“We wouldn’t have won a conference title without him,” coach Greg Sawyer said.
The overwhelming sentiment on the team is of disappointment but understanding when it came to Pierson’s absence on Sunday. There’s also plenty of appreciation for the conference and South Jersey titles he’s helped Delsea win. And he can help them add yet another District 31 crown on Saturday.
What are you listening to?
St. Augustine’s Ed Donahue answered with a rousing, “absolutely,” when asked if he listens to music before his matches.
“I usually listen to rock, like ‘AC/DC,'” Donahue said. “I have a set playlist, I mix in a little bit of rap.”
His one go-to song is “Ladies and Gentlemen” by Saliva.
For weeks Delsea’s dynamic duo of Dylan and Bryan Dobzanski remained the only two unbeaten wrestlers in the area.
They finished the team portion of the season that way. Dylan amassing 31 wins and Bryan winning 33. Of those 64 victories, just nine have been decisions.
Vineland waited a while to get its full lineup in place, but three of those late comers, Josh Pineda, Steven Bergamo and Zach Nealis wasted no time making their presence felt.
Combined, the three are 45-6. And while losing is never a good thing, those six defeats are what most would call “quality losses.” Their opponents in those bouts have amassed a total record of 175-16.
Live blog reminder
We will be providing up-to-the-moment updates from every session of the state tournament starting Friday night at District 32. We will blog both days from Absegami, all day Saturday from Delsea, the site of District 31, all three days of Region 8 from Egg Harbor Township and all four sessions of the state finals in Atlantic City.
Visit The Mat Pack online at thedailyjournal.com/matpack for more information and the blogs themselves when wrestling begins.