Junior Ryan Pomrinca became the first wrestler from North Hunterdon and the 33rd overall to win three individual titles at the historic John Goles Invitational Tournament at Warren Hills High School on Friday night.
Pomrinca, who scored a 13-4 major decision over Dylan Luciano of West Morris for the 126-pound championship, was one of five Lions to reach the finals.
“Ryan is a tough kid,” North Hunterdon coach Tim Flynn said. “He’s a good kid. He works his butt off. He’s the hardest worker I think I’ve been around in my 15 years of coaching. He’s got talent and a great head on his shoulders.”
Flynn said winning a third Goles Invitational title is a stepping stone toward “bigger goals in Atlantic City” for Pomrinca.
Only host Warren Hills, ranked No. 15 in the New Jersey Wrestling Writers Association preseason Top 20, had more finalists (seven) in the 10-team field.
The Blue Streaks, who have won or shared the title 22 times over the course of 56 years, won the team championship with 182 points.
Runner-up North Hunterdon finished with 174 points, 26 more than third-place Delaware Valley, which has won 10 of the last 16 team titles and is ranked No. 17 in the NJWWA statewide poll (the Terriers, who are battling some injuries, were not at full strength).
“We had a rough semifinal round,” Flynn said of the Lions, who he felt could have advanced seven to the finals.
“To win the title would have been a great thing. One match here or there could have been the difference. Warren Hills is a class program. They are tough, and so is Del Val. They were not completely healthy, but they will be in time.”
Paul Robinson, also a junior, defended his 106 pound title for North Hunterdon with a 10-2 major decision over Edison freshman Robert Cleary, while teammate Mike Ciavarro (152) also won a second consecutive crown.
Junior Mike Sicola (160) and senior Joe Guzzo (170) won their first high school tournaments for North Hunterdon. Sicola’s commitment in the weight room paid off, while Guzzo has not stopped working since last season.
Delaware Valley’s Ryan Erwin (132) and Marek Tomanek (285) won individual titles, as did Brian Lapham (145) of Scotch Plains-Fanwood.
Hunterdon Central Invitational: The host Red Devils claimed four individual titles, more than any other school in the 17-team field. No team scoring was kept.
Dylan Nace (132), Colin Boylan (145), Gary Dinmore (152) and Nestor Crespo (185) won their respective weight classes for Hunterdon Central. The Red Devils’ Joe Scerbo and Nick Suk placed second and third, respectively.
Highland Regional, Clearview and Jefferson each had two champions.
Holmdel Tournament: Bridgewater-Raritan, which crowned four individual champions, ran away with the team title, rolling up 232 points to outdistance itself from runner-up Manville.
The Mustangs finished with 129.5 points, eight more than third-place Pinelands. The 12-team field included Toms River South, which competed without its full lineup.
Rumson-Fair Haven’s Marcus Iwama (132) was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler for the second consecutive year.
“It’s been a while since we won a tournament title,” said Bridgewater-Raritan coach Greg Evans, noting his wrestlers and their parents made a commitment during the offseason to help improve the program.
“They put in time over the summer, so obviously it’s a tribute to the kids. I thought they wrestled really well.”
Gianni Calo (120), Van Miller (152), Kyle Murphy (160) and Devin Pietz (170) won titles for the Panthers.
“It was definitely fun to have (another) Somerset County team in the tournament,” Manville coach Pat Gorbatuk said of Bridgewater-Raritan.
“I would say this year Carlo is without a doubt their superstar, but I think Bridgewater has one thing they maybe haven’t had in the past years – very good balance. It seems like their middle weights are very solid. They are going to be able to compete with some of the better schools (in the Skyland Conference) and maybe close the gap there.”
Evans said the Panthers will have a better idea of how they stack up against league foes by the end of next week after wrestling Delaware Valley, North Hunterdon and Somerville.
Brian Kuhlman (106) and Milton Tixeira (126) claimed championships for the Mustangs, who won the season-opening West Morris Tournament.
“The momentum I think from the West Morris Tournament definitely carried over into the early part of the season,” said Gorbatuk, whose young team of mostly freshmen and sophomores owns a 2-0 dual meet record.
“We seem to be very quick starters this year which is in my opinion very impressive for our kids. We are definitely very young but improving daily.”
Manville had the smallest enrollment of any competing schools.
“The best part about wrestling is when you get a solid athlete, the size of the school really can’t hurt them and I think that’s one of the beauties of the sport,” Gorbatuk said. “The fact that we can compete against (schools with larger enrollments) comes from our mindset.”