CRANFORD - In a season that some thought would be a rebuilding year, the Cranford High School silenced the naysayers with a 16-5 record, a sixth consecutive Union County Tournament team title, and District 14 title.
"As a whole, the season was a success," said head coach Pat Gorman. "We had a lot of new faces in the line up, freshman through seniors, and we were able to overcome injuries and illnesses to stay competitive. Reflecting on the county and district titles, it is always great to know that the boys are holding up tradition and making sacrifices to keep the winning ways alive at Cranford, despite so many factors that play into the preparation and execution of these tournament titles."
At the Union County Tournament, Cranford had top-five finishers in 13-of-14 weight classes.
- 106 Will Fernandez - 4th place
- 113 Mason Hooey - 3rd place
- 120 Pat Kalnins - 2nd place
- 126 Pat Ganley - 5th place
- 132 Jimmy Gluck - 3rd place
- 138 Luke DiGiovanni - 2nd place
- 145 Colin Murray - 3rd place
- 152 Christian Esposito - 5th place
- 160 Shane Kanterman - 2nd place
- 170 Max Knock - 5th place
- 182 Justin Alpaugh-McLean - Champion
- 195 Evan Kanterman - Champion
- 285 Kevin Boo Shriner - 2nd place
The Cougars also had four individual District 14 Champions in Colin Murray (145), Max Nock (170), Evan Kanterman (195), and Kevin Shriner (285). Murray, Nock, and Kanterman went on to compete at the Atlantic City State Championship.
Cranford will graduate nine seniors in Justin Alpaugh-McLean, Christian Esposito, Will Fernandez, Chris Hecht, Pat Kalnins, Evan Kanterman, Max Nock, Brennan Quinones, and Ian Spurr, six of which are starters. Despite losing nearly half his starting lineup, Coach Gorman knows there's more talent down the pipeline.
"We will be graduating six starters, and we already have guys hard at work who will be replacing these guys," said Gorman. "That is not to say that they won't be missed. This was a strong group of seniors. We had two county champs, two district champs, and two state qualifiers within this group. They are not easily replaced, but the Cranford Wrestling program, from PAL and upward, has done a great job at keeping the numbers up and making sure the kids are having fun and learning the sport."
"In Cranford, we have a great support system of former alumni and parents that have fueled the progress in the last few years," he added. "I cannot thank the volunteer Cranford coaches enough for what they have done and continue to do. Any high school coach will tell you that a strong feeder program is the most important piece to building a successful high school team year after year, and in Cranford, we have what I consider to be the best feeder program."