ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Its been 26 years since the last time East Brunswick High School had multiple medal winners at the NJSIAA Individual Wrestling State Championship.
That 2 1/2-decade drought ended as East Brunswick’s Mitchell Polito and Alec Gleason finished in the Top 8 of their respective weight classes on Sunday at Boardwalk Hall.
“Its pretty significant,” Polito said. “We had a state champ four years ago so that will be the goal next year. [The two Top 8 finishers are] pretty good because East Brunswick is not really known for our wrestling team, so its good that we had two guys come down here and place.”
Polito placed third in the 113-pound weight class by beating Queen of Peace’s Enrique Sanchez, 5-2. The East Brunswick junior racked up two takedowns and an escape point to take third.
“I wrestled him early in the tournament and it came down to overtime with a takedown. I knew if I was able to get to my attacks and finish that would be the difference.”
Polito previously defeated Sanchez in the second round of the championship bracket, 3-1, in sudden death overtime.
In the 126-pound class, Gleason finished fifth by pinning DePaul’s Daniel Percelay midway through the opening period.
Gleason picked up an early 2-point takedown before ending the match early with a pin at 1:19.
“When I came down here, I set a goal to place in the tournament,” Gleason said. “I went over it and got fifth. It feels pretty good.”
The future University of Chicago wrestler said he learned a lot at this year’s event, specifically about the style of play it will take for him to succeed at the next level.
“I have to be more aware that when I shoot, I make stupid mistakes,” Gleason said. “That’s how I got taken down the entire tournament.”
Fellow East Brunswick wrestler Mark Schleifer (120 pounds) also competed in the tournament, losing in the championship bracket quarterfinals, then losing in his first wrestle back match to fall out of medal contention.