EHT rolls past TR North in first round of states
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Visiting Toms River North had some tough, scrappy wrestlers, but Egg Harbor Township's senior-laden lineup with simply too powerful for the Mariners to handle in the opening round of the South Jersey Group 5 playoffs on Monday night.
The third-seeded Eagles built up a 28-0 lead and cruised to a 43-15 victory, setting up a matchup Wednesday night at No. 2 Southern Regional. The top four seeds all advanced, as No. 1 Howell took down No. 8 Williamstown, 60-12, while No. 4 Eastern Regional dominated No. 5 Cherokee, 48-24. Eastern travels to Howell to take on the Rebels on Wednesday night.
Egg Harbor Township (20-2) jumped out to a quick start as senior 220-pounder Connor Agostino registered a pin in just 27 seconds, and after Paul Valian accepted a forfeit at heavyweight, Louis Vonacore scored a 6-3 win at 106 and Christian Smith ended a tight battle with Sergio Bardo at 113 pounds with a second-period pin to push the lead to 21-0.
Toms River North (11-11) didn't get on the board until halfway through the match, when Anthony Bredjik scored a late reversal and picked up some back points to get past Joey Brito, 8-2. The Eagles got right back on track, as Cody Dix scored an 11-4 win at 138 and Jason Kaenzig outlasted Michael Johns 3-1 at 145 pounds. EHT also picked up wins from standout seniors Terrell Coleman (120) and Hunter Thomas (126) in the lower weights.
"I do work on my takedowns a lot, but I couldn't turn this kid tonight, so I just tried to rack up some points," Coleman said of taking on Nick Reilly. "I try to get the major (decision) first, and if I get up to a major, I go for the pin after that."
Coleman, who made it to the state tournament at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City last year, set up a flurry of takedowns in the second period before finishing off 14-5 major decision. Thomas followed with a tough 5-3 victory over Toms River North 126-pounder Nick Boggiano. Thomas jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but Boggiano scored a takedown in the third period to cut the lead to 4-3. Boggiano had to cut Thomas loose late in the third period and attempt to get a takedown to tie the bout at 5-5, but Thomas was able to hold him off in the final 20 seconds.
"I just tried to wrestle as hard as I could and work the moves I always do, and just wrestle," Thomas said.
Kaenzig and Mark Woods both scored narrow victories, at 145 and 152 pounds, respectively, to help EHT build a 37-3 lead. Kaenzig scored a first-period takedown and held on for a 3-1 win over Johns. Woods followed by slipping past Juan Wakano 6-5. Wakano scored an escape early in the third period to cut the lead to 6-5, but was unable to take Woods down in the final 30 seconds.
The Mariners picked up a few points at 160 in the most exciting bout of the night, as James Cauldwell got an overtime takedown to slip past Dan Wollermann, 3-1. The only two points scored in regulation time came on escapes by each wrestler.
North picked up another win at 170 and got a pin at 182 before forfeiting the final bout of the night at 195 pounds.
Coleman said he thinks the Eagles can hang with Southern, one of the top teams every year in Ocean County.
"We wrestled Southern early in the season, so I think it's going to be a tough match on Wednesday night," Coleman said. "I have a lot of confidence in this team, but we have to keep working hard. We can't be satisfied with this win."
"This was preparation for the next match and to get ready for bigger things. We just have to be ready and just keep working," Thomas added. "The team always comes first. We're always pumped and ready to do whatever it takes to get the team win. We just need 14 guys to go out there, give it their all and wrestle as hard as they can."
Contact Dave O'Sullivan: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays