CRANFORD - Sweet, sweet revenge.
Last season, Cranford fell to Roselle Park by a mere eight points. To what Cranford head coach Pat Gorman called "tradition," the Cougars entered Saturday's meet with the Roselle Park Panthers to the sound of bagpipes for an extra adrenaline kick.
Whether it was the bagpipes or their momentum coming off of Saturday's fifth consecutive Union County Tournament Championship, the Cougars took 11 of 14 bouts on Wednesday night to defeat rival Roselle Park 50-17 at home.
"Last year when we won the counties, maybe we were on that high cloud and needed to come back to earth a little bit and (Roselle Park) beat us," said Gorman. "That always stung and it was something I talked to the team about this year as soon as we won the counties. Go have that fun, but this isn't the finish line. There's more to work for."
Though the meet started at 195, the first match didn't kick off until 285 due to Roselle Park forfeiting 195 and 220. The heavyweight bout featured a Union County Tournament rematch between Cranford's Kevin Shriner and Roselle Park's David Torres. Shriner pulled out a 2-1 sudden victory at counties but had no need for overtime Wednesday as he snuck out a back-and-forth 3-2 decision.
160 saw a newcomer to the Cougars' lineup in Max Nock, who went on to take a 13-2 major decision over Patrick Gergich.
"A lot of people are getting sick and I got put in," said Nock. "Hopefully I showed the coaches that I'm able to beat kids."
"We were dealing with some illness and injury, but plugged guys in there that have been in the room all the time like Max Nock," said Gorman. "Unfortunately he didn't win his wrestle-off (pre season), but he's been in the room every day working hard. Same thing happened last year. Somebody got sick and he went right in there and won a bunch of matches for us on varsity. I know he's a varsity level wrestler so it's good to see him get these opportunities."
Other notes from the meet include 106 Ronan Waters scoring a fall in just 30 seconds and 145 Jack Korzeneski with a 5-3 sudden victory. Korzeneski wrestled up after winning the 138 Union County Tournament Championship. He was also named one of this week's Cranford High School Athletes of the Week.
195: Matt Doran (CRAN) over (ROPA) (For.)
220: Zach Blevins (CRAN) over (ROPA) (For.)
285: Kevin Shriner (CRAN) over David Torres (ROPA) (Dec 3-2)
106: Ronan Waters (CRAN) over Justin Llizo (ROPA) (Fall 0:30)
113: Will Fernandez (CRAN) over Danny Luc (ROPA) (Dec 3-0)
120: Gabriel Leo (ROPA) over Brendan Reilly (CRAN) (Fall 0:31)
126: Eddie Hummel (ROPA) over Patrick Kalnins (CRAN) (TF 23-8 5:42)
132: Dean Smith (CRAN) over Julian Colon (ROPA) (Fall 3:13)
138: Mark Montgomery (ROPA) over Colin Murray (CRAN) (Fall 2:44)
145: Jack Korzeneski (CRAN) over Drew Graves (ROPA) (SV-1 5-3)
152: AJ Bencivenga (CRAN) over Elvin Guerrero (ROPA) (Dec 7-3)
160: Max Nock (CRAN) over Patrick Gergich (ROPA) (MD 13-2)
170: Evan Kanterman (CRAN) over Jonathan Estivene (ROPA) (MD 12-4)
182: Justin Alpaugh-Mclean (CRAN) over (ROPA) (For.)
EDITOR'S NOTE: Special thanks to Mr. Murray for the photos.