The Shore Conference wrestling season will heat up again Wednesday night after a slow start to the week.
Long Branch, which took a major step toward its third straight Shore Conference Class B North championship with a win at Wall last Saturday, will wrestle at Raritan Wednesday night in what has become, arguably, Monmouth County’s best rivarly.
The two programs have consistently been ranked in the Shore Conference’s top 10 over the last decade. They have met three times in the NJSIAA Team Tournament since 2009, with Long Branch winning two of those matches.
Last year, the two teams split two tough matches. Raritan won the regular season meeting, 28-26, even though Long Branch won eight bouts. Long Branch won the meeting in the Shore Conference Tournament, 28-18, as it grinded out wins in nine bouts.
Long Branch has balance throughout its lineup and has its lineup settled with Joey Jasio getting down to 220, John Tomlinson being inserted in at heavyweight and Tommy Flannigan at heavyweight.
Raritan, which recorded a dramatic 31-30 win over Jackson Liberty last Saturday with pins at 160 and 170 after it trailed 24-19 with four bouts left, has a young team and balance throughout the lineup.
Here are Monday night’s Shore Conference wrestling results
Expect another hard-fought match between the two.
Also, Wednesday night, Point Boro will wrestle at Jackson Liberty in a key Shore Conference Class B South match and Shore will wrestle at Point Beach in the match that will decide the Shore Conference Class B Central championship.
The Point Boro-Jackson Liberty match has decided the Class B South championship the last three seasons with Point Boro winning two of those matches, including last year. Jackson Liberty won by a point in 2013.
A potentially interesting matchup in the match could come at 126 pounds if Jackson Liberty’s Mike Russo, a two-time state top four finisher, wrestles Point Boro’s Daniel Nobbs, a two-time state qualifier.
The Point Beach-Shore match has always been the biggest match in the world of Group I wrestling in the Shore. The match is always wrestled before a large and enthusiastic crowd. Point Beach is one of the best venues in the Shore to watch a match.
Another potentially interesting match Wednesday night will see Ocean wrestle at Wall. Ocean will be trying to remain tied with Long Branch for first place in Class B North.
A really neat ceremony will take place Thursday night before the Jackson Liberty at Jackson Memorial match,. The storied Jackson Memorial program will have a ceremony before the match where it will honor all its past state champions.
Friday night, another of Monmouth County’s best rivarlies will take center stage when Ocean wrestles at Howell. Those two programs have been among the Shore’s top 10 over the last decade.
Saturday morning, Shore Conference Class A South, after having been quiet since the Jackson Memorial at Southern match on Jan. 7, will once again take center stage. Brick will wrestle at Brick Memorial in the first match of a quad that will also include Collingswood and St. Joseph (Montvale).
The winner of the match will move into sole possession of first place in Class A South heading into the final week of divisional matches. Brick Memorial still has Jackson Memorial to wrestle after Brick. Brick has Toms River South and Southern to wrestle after Brick Memorial.
There are some potentially interesting matchups in the middleweights, especially in the 160-170 pound area.
Also, Saturday, Long Branch will have a grueling day in the Garden State Duals at Rutgers University’s College Avenue Gym. The Green Wave will wrestle Shawnee, St. Peter’s Prep, Bergen Catholic and St. Augustine.
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; firstname.lastname@example.org