GLEN RIDGE, NJ-- It was a good season for the Glen Ridge High wrestling team in 2019-2020.
Head coach Kendall Southerland had a young team, which won the Super Essex Conference's Colonial Division, with a 5-0 record. The Ridgers were 8-13 overall.
Southerland, himself a standout collegiate and high school wrestler, completed his 11th season as head coach at Glen Ridge. It's always been a struggle to get a full lineup, in a small town, but the grapplers who competed were up to the challenge.
"The team started with 16 wrestlers and ended with 14," said Southerland "It's a small town, but the kids work hard."
The Ridgers were led by its lone senior, Iain Shaw, a team captain at 170 pounds.
"Iain won the Irvington Holiday Tournament, and posted a 14 – 6 record for the season," said Southerland. "He injured has ankle in the middle of the season. Iain ended his Glen Ridge wrestling career with 64 wins."
Some talented underclassmen give hope for continued success next season.
Dean Geraci, a junior at 195 pounds, finished second at both the Irvington and Rahway holiday tournaments.
"Dean had a break out year, with 21 wins on the season," said Southerland
Jesse Samuelson, a junior captain at 132 pounds, battled through injuries.
"Jesse had a rough season, due to thumb injury, but he wrestled tough all year, and had a 14-10 record. Jesse will be having surgery in March."
A sophomore, James McCarren had a breakout year, at 182 pounds. He won won both the Irvington and Rahway holiday tournaments.
"James won 25 matches this year, 18 by pin, and lost a close quarter final match at the districts, 3-2," said Southerland.
Steven Nichols, a junior, filled in well when Shaw was injured, at 170 pounds.
"Steve went 16 – 6 on the season, and showed a lot of improvement," said Southerland.
Freshmen Gerrick Fuller (106 pounds) Mac Davidson (138) and Ryder Smith (145) did a nice job on varsity this season and helped the team capture a conference championship.
"I'm looking forward to next year," said Southerland. "We'll hopefully have 13 wrestlers returning, as well as five to eight incoming freshmen."