Wrestling: AL Johnson (Clark) Falls to Franklin Township in Home Finale

Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Mike Brennan with his parents, head coach Mike Siter and assistant coach Chris Roberts. Brennan suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier on in the season. Credits: Daniel Collins
Arthur L. Johnson High School junior Tyler Bohm picked up a win in Friday's home finale. Credits: Daniel Collins
Arthur L. Johnson High School sophomore Sebastian Iakouchevitch looks forward to regions, finishing with a 29-3 record in the 2016-17 season. Credits: Daniel Collins
Arthur L. Johnson High School junior Chris Fuschetto with his parents, head coach Mike Siter and assistant coach Chris Roberts after he secured his 100th career win. Credits: Daniel Collins

CLARK, NJ - At the last home meet of the season, the Arthur L. Johnson High School wrestling team honored its senior player and saw a milestone reached.  Although the team gave up the win to visiting Franklin Township, 51-27, it celebrated its accomplishments.

Crusader Chris Fuschetto recorded his 100th win in the final match of the meet, defeating Henry Condado. He is the first junior in Arthur L. Johnson High School history to reach the milestone.

He joins Kyle Gregorio (2016), Anthony Priore (2007) and Andy Trzcinski (1994) in the 100-win club.

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“It’s an honor to coach a guy who has 100 wins after three years,” Johnson head coach Mike Siter said. “He’s going to set the record here at Johnson High School. Not too many guys in the state of New Jersey have done it.”

“It’s an honor to coach a wrestler like that who puts in the time in the offseason and during the season, after practice and so on,” he added. “It’s an honor to coach Chris Fuschetto.”

Prior to the game, the Crusaders held their Senior Night ceremony for Mike Brennan, the squad’s only graduating athlete.  Brennan was sidelined earlier in the season after suffering a torn MCL during a practice.

“It’s been really great [being with the wrestling program],” Brennan said. “It’s taught me a lot about hard work and dedication. My first year was actually my sophomore year, so it’s been a learning process, but I definitely think it’s been for the better.”

“Mike Brennan came in his sophomore year and he’s a real go-getter,” Siter said. “He works hard in the weight room during the offseason. He’s a big body to wrestle at 195 pounds. He’s strong and athletic. We missed him this season due to his knee injury. He definitely could’ve put up 20 wins or so to help the team out.”

“Overall, he’s just a great student-athlete and a great person. We hope to get more athletes like him onto the team,” Siter added.  Siter hopes that some of the school’s football players will consider joining the wrestling program during the winter months.

As the match got started, Johnson junior Tyler Bohm pinned his opponent, Julius Paitakis, at 4:53 of the match (0:53 of the third round), gaining four match points, as compared to Paitakis’ three match points, giving his Crusaders the 6-0 lead following his victory.

Smith pinned his opponent, Vinny Concina, at 0:57 of their match with a takedown to gain six points for the Warriors, tying the score at six.

Franklin Township was awarded 12 points on forfeited matches in certain weight classes, giving them an 18-6 advantage on the afternoon.

Johnson sophomore Sebastian Iakouchevitch was next up for the Crusaders, facing off against Alec Balestrieri and winning his 29th match of the season with a pin-down in the 170-pound weight class at 2:36 of the match (0:36 of the second round), cutting into the Warriors’ lead.

“It feels good knowing that I can end the season at home in front of all my friends and family along with [Chris Fuschetto] getting his 100th win,” Iakouchevitch said. “I ended 29-3, but that doesn’t matter anymore. It’s time to look forward to the postseason and make my way to regions.”

Franklin Township would pick up another win in the next match-up, with Michael Espinal-Gruillon defeating Nick Rabeno of Johnson at 2:36 of the match (0:36 of the second round), putting the Warriors ahead by a score of 24-12.

The lead for Franklin Township became 36-12, with two more weight-class forfeited matches.

Johnson junior Dan Olenick picked up another win for his team in the 285-pound class, quickly pinning down his opponent, Marcus Estevez at 0:33 of the match, getting his team within 36-18.

In the following match, Johnson freshman Jason Duffy faced off against Matt Hambrecht and the two fought until the third round ended, with no pin-down. Hambrecht gained 14 match points, compared to Duffy’s ten, as Franklin Township picked up two more points to go up 38-18.

Franklin Township would pick up 13 more points, going ahead 51-18 with matches forfeited.

Chris Manning would go next for Johnson and fought against his opponent Mohamed Mahmoud, with the clock expiring with no pin-down being recorded.

Fuschetto would come up next, immediately recording his 100th victory with a quick pin-down 14 seconds into the match.

The Johnson Crusaders head off on the road to face off in their next match at Millburn HS Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.

The Franklin Warriors will face off at Mount Olive HS Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.

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