SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD NJ- On a night dedicated to “pinning cancer," the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Raider wrestling team edged past Westfield on the final match.
The match that clinched it for the Raiders was the final bout in which Matt Ridge (195) of Scotch Plains-Fanwood was awarded four points in a major decision. He was awarded two points with less than 30 seconds to go to make the match 8-0 in favor of Ridge. He was able to keep that lead, which meant that the Raiders would win the match, 34-33.
After Jarek Gozdieski of Westfield (160) pinned George Ramos, the match seemed to be out of hand for the Raiders at 33-21 in favor of Westfield, but thanks to a forfeit at 170 pounds, the Raiders found themselves six points behind with two bouts remaining. Raider Jalen Bryant (182) won a momentum-turning match, 8-2, just prior to Ridge’s match.
The match was also a benefit for cancer research. Both teams wore singlets that included the phrase “cure cancer” on them. Fans from both towns came out in large numbers to help the cause and watch an excellent wrestling match.
"I was happy to see a great turn out with the fans, and pin cancer gear,” said Raider wrestler Brian Lapham. “It was a great event not just for the school, but for wrestling’s support to help cure cancer.”
Westfield received pins from Chris Hoerle (106) and Kevin Miller (138). They received a technical fall from Nick Kalimtzis (120), a major decision from Nick Velez (152), and decisions from Matt Barber (145) and John Fuller (113). Other victories for Scotch Plains-Fanwood included a pin from Dan Van Brunt (220), and a decision from Tommy Cunningham (132).
The Raiders travel to Union on Wednesday at 7 p.m., while Westfield travels to Elizabeth on Wednesday at 5 p.m.