Josh Lowe, InterMat High School Analyst
In leg two of their three-day wrestling trip to New Jersey over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, No. 6 Clovis (Calif.) went to No. 9 Bergen Catholic to take on DePaul Catholic (N.J.) and the host Crusaders. This comes off of day one, where the Cougars beat St. Peter’s Prep (N.J.) 65-3 and upended No. 47 Delbarton (N.J.) 40-15, as Clovis took ten of fourteen bouts against the home-standing Green Wave in the later of those dual meets.
Friday afternoon/evening opened for Clovis with a 52-13 victory over DePaul Catholic, winning ten of fourteen bouts over a top five ranked team in the Garden State. This set up a top ten collision between the visiting Cougars and the hosts from Bergen Catholic.
Starting at 113 pounds, the Crusaders flipped their normal starters, with starting 120 pound wrestler Richard Halal wrestling in tonight’s opening weight class. Halal, a regional qualifier last year, would win a 3-1 decision over Brandon Paulson. Then, No. 6 (at 113) Robert Howard upended returning state medalist Wyatt Cornelison 4-0 at 120. Bergen Catholic had a 6-0 lead through two matches.
Clovis stopped the early bleeding, but only briefly, with a pin in 32 seconds from No. 4 Justin Mejia at 126 pounds. It was a backup for the Crusaders, as they wisely shifted two-time state placer Carmen Ferrante up one weight class. In that 132 pound weight class, Ferrante would upend Michael Portillo 3-2.
After five more wins in a row, Bergen Catholic would have a 29-6 lead through the 160 pound weight class. Crusaders victories were earned by No. 13 Gerard Angelo (138), Wade Unger (145), No. 7 Shane Griffith (152), No. 19 Christopher Foca (160), and Anthony Astarian (170). Angelo earned a technical fall, Griffith a pin, Foca beat returning state medalist Brandon Martino 5-4, while regional qualifier Astarian knocked off state qualifier Victor Vargas 3-2.
With five matches left, it would almost have to be a clean sweep for Clovis in order to take the dual meet victory, and that indeed is what happened. Sophomore Jacob Good started off the rally with a 7-1 victory over Sage Mosco at 182 pounds. It continued with a pin in 51 seconds from state qualifier Ruger Wyneken at 195, Joey Jaramillo pinned regional qualifier Jordan Michalski in 4:39 at 220, while No. 2 Seth Nevills scored a pin at 1:04 at 285 to set up a winner take all bout at 106 pounds.
That last match of the evening live up to the billing as a battle of excellent freshmen took to the mat. Scoreless after two periods, Giano Petrucelli would get the necessary points in the third period to earn a 2-1 victory over Nick Kayal. The Cougars won 30-29 despite only earning victories in six of the fourteen weight classes.