The one thing the seeding meeting for the 38th Shore Conference Wrestling Tournament on Sunday at Red Bank Regional showed is there is a lot parity once you get beyond the top teams in the conference.
A case could have been made the teams that were seeded Nos. 7-11 in the 20-team tournament could have been seeded in any order.
Brick Memorial, which has won the tournament a record 14 times, including the last two years, is the top seed. Southern, which defeated Brick Memorial, 25-22, last Thursday night to move into the No. 1 spot in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, did not enter the tournament for the third consecutive year.
The tournament begins Tuesday night with the four preliminary-round matches, involving the Nos. 13-20 seeds. Those winners will advance into the round of 16, which will take place along with the quarterfinals Thursday night at 5 and 7 at the top four seeds, Brick Memorial, Jackson Memorial, Howell and Raritan.
The semifinal matches and the championship match will take place Saturday at 3 and 5:30 p.m. at Red Bank Regional, Little Silver.
The top five seeds were clear-cut. Brick Memorial earned the seed by virtue of a win over Jackson Memorial on Jan. 15. Jackson Memorial moved into the No. 2 spot after its win on tiebreaking criteria (most pins) over Hanover Park on Saturday. Howell lost to Hanover Park on Jan. 4. Howell has a win over No. 4 seed Raritan and Raritan has a two-point win over No. 5 seed Long Branch.
The debate began at the No. 6 spot between Wall and Point Boro. Point Boro coach Pat Brady, the Class B South represenative, put his team up because of a higher current power rating than Wall, which has a win over No. 8 seed Ocean. The two teams are currently No. 4 and 5 in the NJSIAA Central Group II power ratings and will likely wrestle each other in a Central II first-round match on Feb. 10. The vote went in favor of Wall.
The debate for the No. 7 spot was between Point Boro, Ocean and Christian Brothers Academy. Point Boro won the vote for that seed over Ocean because the Spartans are currently without two of their best wrestlers in two-time state top four finisher Zach Hertling and district third-place finisher Jason Lawhon. Ocean coach Cip Apicelli said on Friday both Hertling and Lawhon are sidelined for the remainder of the season because of knee injuries.
CBA got the No. 9 seed over Brick because it defeated the Green Dragons on Jan. 11 and Brick got the No. 10 seed over Toms River South based on comparable scores with Southern.
Teams were seeded based on overall record, head-to-head results, strength of schedule, scores against common opponents and their current power rating.
The seeding was done without some significant matches having taken place yet, due to some quirks in the scheduling and snow.
Jackson Memorial wrestles Southern tonight in a match where the Rams can take a major step toward clinching the Class A South championship. It would be Southern’s first divisional championship since 2005. A Jackson Memorial win would likely result in a three-way tie for the divisional title among Southern, Brick Memorial and Jackson Memorial.
Also tonight, Howell hosts CBA in the match that will decide the Class A North championship. Toms River South hosts Brick tonight in a match that was originally scheduled to take place Jan. 21, but was postponed because of snow.
Ocean will wrestle at Long Branch on Tuesday night in a match that will have Class B North championship implications. An Ocean win would create a three-way tie for the divisional championship among Long Branch, Ocean and Wall. Long Branch, which has clinched a tie for the title, would win it outright with a win. The match was originally scheduled for Jan. 22, but was postponed because of last week’s snowstorm.
Thursday should produce some intriguing matches. The potential Raritan-Long Branch quarterfinal could be one of the most competitive matches in the entire tournament. Long Branch won eight bouts in the 28-26 loss to Raritan on Jan. 11 in a tri-meet at Jackson Liberty. However, Raritan won because it earned 10 bonus points to just two for Long Branch.
The Toms River South-Wall round-of-16 match could have fascinating matchups at 113, 160 and 170. The Brick-Point Boro round-of-16 match will have bouts that will have seeding implications for the District 23 Tournament and the Ocean-CBA round-of-16 match will have seeding implications for the District 22 tournament.
Seven teams from District 22 are in the tournament, six from District 23, five from District 21 and just two from District 24.