When local wrestling teams compete at the Old Bridge Summer Duals, it’s for a variety of reasons. Some teams participate for the extra work in the offseason and to keep their wrestlers in shape. For other teams, it’s about all of that and a little bit more.
The Old Bridge Summer Duals, which took place this week and consisted of 18 teams, was won for the third-straight year by Howell, which defeated South Plainfield in the championship on Thursday night by a score of 33-32.
“I think it’s a learning tool for some of our younger guys, always when we go in our goal is to win and we look at it differently than some of the other teams,” South Plainfield coach Kevin McCann said. “We’re going to get mat time but also to start towards our goal of winning a state championship.”
The duals were broken down into three divisions, with Old Bridge winning the Liberty Division with a record of 5-0. South Plainfield went 5-0 in the National Division and Howell also finished 5-0 in the American Division.
The three division champions then wrestled in a round robin, with South Plainfield defeating Old Bridge 42-15, and Howell defeating Old Bridge, which finished in third place, 28-14, to set up the championship match.
“We kind of gave it away, we weren’t too happy with the outcome but it’s a learning tool and hopefully some of the younger kids learned from their mistakes,” McCann said. “We’ll see Howell again because they’re on our schedule so hopefully we can reverse the outcome.”
South Plainfield, which has competed in the summer duals since 1997, won its 31st consecutive District 12 title this past winter. Despite the loss to Howell, McCann believes his team learned a lot from this past week and it will help his team next season.
“We got to the final which we thought we could do and I guess we fell a little short, we’re just hoping that we learn from it,” he said. “We saw a lot of good things, we’re impressed with the class coming in, which is a strong freshmen class so we’re pleasantly surprised by that, and some of our veterans who weren’t in the starting lineup showed a lot too. There were a lot of positives and one little negative and we’ll grow on it.”
Staff Writer Lauren Knego: firstname.lastname@example.org
OLD BRIDGE SUMMER DUALS
Howell 33, South Plainfield 32
106: Joe Heilmann (SP) fall Jesse Liptzin (HOW), 2:56; 113: Darby Diedrich (HOW) fall Alex Amato (SP), 3:05; 120: Jake Giordano (SP) maj. dec. Eli Orford (HOW), 11-3; 126: Kyle Slendorn (HOW) dec. Ryan DuHamel (SP), 4-0; 132: Pete Dee (HOW) fall Joe Sacco (SP), 5:45 UTB; 138: Anthony Gagliano (HOW) dec. Jeff Plungis (SP), 4-0; 145: Kris Lindemann (HOW) dec. Kyle Bythell (SP), 4-0; 152: Dan Hedden (SP) fall Chris Murphy (HOW), 0:18; 160: Ben Lundy (SP) dec. Frank Leonardis (HOW), 2-1; 170: Nick DiFranceco (SP) dec. Ryan Marter (HOW), 6-1; 182: Tanner Kelly (HOW) fall Christian Gonzalez (SP), 3:52; 195: Ryan Matston (SP) winner by forfeit; 220: Eric Keosseian (HOW) fall Dion Pender (SP), 2:52; 285: Zack DelVecchio (SP) maj. dec. Jake Nash (HOW), 9-0.
FINAL DIVISION STANDINGS
*South Plainfield 5-0
Perth Amboy 3-2
New Brunswick 2-3
Howell Gray 0-5
*Howell Blue 5-0
Bishop Ahr/Colonia 3-2
South Brunswick 3-2
East Brunswick/South River/Spotswood 1-4
Edison Gold 0-5
*Old Bridge 5-0
St. John Vianney 4-1
West Windsor/Allentown 2-3
Edison Red 1-4
JP Stevens 0-5