MATAWAN- The South Plainfield High School wrestling took part in some GMC Red division action earlier tonight, as the team went on the road to take on Old Bridge High School.
The #3 Tigers (23-1) were fresh off their ninth straight GMC tournament win from this weekend, but judging from tonight’s performance, they didn’t seem to let it get to their heads.
The Knights (5-10) put up a few tough individual performances, but South Plainfield dominated for the most part, and left their division rival’s gym with a 44-21 victory.
South Plainfield head coach Bill Pavlak said he was happy with how the matches turned out, as it gave a few of his athletes the opportunity to gut out a hard-fought win, while also letting the team win handedly.
“We had some good matches in there, and we had some matches where we overpowered them a little,” the coach said after the match. “We forfeited a couple, and they forfeited one, but the matches that were out there gave us an hour and a half match and I think that was good for us.”
Although the final scoreline makes it seem differently, Joe Sacco had to exert himself a bit in his win at 138 pounds against Old Bridge’s Justin Gonzalez. Sacco‘s multiple takedowns and back points showed the South Plainfield product was the superior grappler, but Jackson’s caginess got him a pair of reversals, and even put Sacco on his heels at times, before he was able to hit a takedown that gave him a 21-6 tech fall with 11 seconds left in the final period.
Ben Lundy and Mike Marrero also grinded out two tough 7-2 decision wins.
Not all of the matches were competitive though. Fresh off notching his 100th win last weekend, junior Joe Heilmann came out and connected on nine takedowns en-route to his 22-7 techfall win over Mike Botte.
Kyle Bythell stepped out onto the mat ready to put his disappointing fourth place finish in last weekend’s tournament behind him, and he ended up doing just that when he used a cradle to notch an 84 second pin over Anthony Allegro.
Luke Niemeyer got himself his 19th pin of the season, when he wrapped up Oscar Santiago in the midpoint of the second period. The 195 pound sophomore is one of the most prolific pinners in the state, as only ten wrestlers in all of New Jersey have recorded more pins than him. Pavlak says Niemeyer’s tendency to punish his opponents for bad takedown attempts is a huge reason why the sophomore has racked up so many falls.
“When someone shoots in on him he usually gets down on the head and works it down, and next thing you know the other guy is on his back,” the coach said. “When someone shoots in and it’s a bad shot, he makes them pay for it, and he doesn’t let the guy back up. A lot of times he gets the pin right off the takedown, not waiting to get on top.”
The Tigers will be on the road again Friday when they match up against Bishop Ahr tomorrow, and then on Saturday they’ll return home to face last year’s Group 2 champion, Emerson Boro.