NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The Pioneers Varsity Wrestling team faced-off against Scotch-Plains Fanwood High School, the final score was 45 -18, and while the scoreboard shows the Pioneers being dominated on the mat, the actual competition tells a different story.
The Pioneers had seven wrestlers ready to compete and out of the seven, five emerged victorious. Coach John Scholz explained that he was proud of his team’s performance and wishes more students would come out to participate.
Some of the team’s major issues aren’t the wrestlers they have, but the wrestlers they don’t have. The Pioneers constantly find themselves in an uphill battle because of points given up through forfeits. Meaning, in order to have a chance to win in some of the matches, the Pioneers would need to be flawless.
The night began with a “Salute to Service,” held by the New Providence Wrestling team, in honor of individuals serving in the military, police force, fire department, and Emergency Medical Technicians. Members of the New Providence Police Honor Guard, and local Boy Scouts participated, rendering honors as the National Anthem was performed.
The first match of the night was between Matthew Fleck and Mike Bottazzi. Bottazzi won the match easily, earning 6 to Fleck's 2 points, with a couple of takedowns and 1 reversal. Giving the Pioneers 3 points.
Owen Smith faced off against Jack Cannon, in what was probably the most exciting match up the night, both Smith and Cannon found themselves in a stalemate. An Ultimate Tie Breaker ensued. When in Ultimate Tie Breaker, the goal is for the wrestler on top to control the wrestler on the bottom and for the wrestler on the bottom to escape, within 30 seconds. Smith succeeded in controlling Cannon, winning the match and scoring 3 points for the Pioneers.
Joe Delia found himself down early in his match against Nicholas Palazzolo. Palazzolo earned 6 points in the 1st period with three takedowns, but Delia never let up, earning two points with a pair of escapes in the 1st period; reversal in the 2nd period; and a near fall, giving him a total of 6 points to Palazzolo’s 8 points after another take down in the 2nd period. In the 3rd period a flurry of moves by both wrestlers ended in Delia’s favor, as he finished the match with 13 points, with another reversal and two near falls. Delia earned 3 points for the Pioneers.
The 4th match of the night was between Chris Reynolds and Alex Oslislo. Reynolds defeated Oslislo easily, earning 2 points in the 1st period with a takedown, 2 points in the 2nd period with a reversal, and 2 points in the 3rd period with another take down, never allowing Oslislo to earn any points, 3 points were awarded to the Pioneers.
Dante Tripicchio found himself down early in the match after Zachary Fleischman earned 2 points after a takedown, but after a tough match, Tripicchio gained his composure and eventually won the match in the 3rd period with a pin, giving the Pioneers 6 points, 18 total.
These points would be the last of the night, with the next match being a double forfeit for both teams, and the following three being forfeits for New Providence.
John Palmer of New Providence matched up against Michael Fleck and kept it close for most of the match. Fleck eventually defeated Palmer 9-5 with a reversal and near fall in the 3rd period.
The Pioneer’s Connor Gavagan found himself down early to Jeremey Lenart, being defeated within 14 seconds by pin.
The night came to a close with the following three matches ending in forfeits.