South Plainfield Wrestling Knocks Off Rival Delsea for Second Straight Year to take Home Tenth Group # 3 State Championship


TOMS RIVER- The South Plainfield High School wrestling team (30-1) entered the Pine Belt Arena looking to bring back home the Group 3 state title, and by the championship match the only thing standing in their way was one of their fiercest rivals, #15 Delsea (24-5).

It took a complete team effort to get to the finals match, and it was a team effort that got them the championship. Spearheaded by a quick pin by one of their unheralded wrestlers, and a team-wide effort to win the bonus points battle, the #3 Tigers defeated Delsea 38-23, and picked up their second straight Group 3 title, and the program’s tenth overall group title.

“They’re a great bunch of kids,” said Tigers coach Bill Pavlak. “They said from the first day of practice that they were going to be group champs and that’s what they did. You hear that a lot, but these kids backed it up.”

Sign Up for E-News

While many fans were hoping to see a finals matchup between South Plainfield and formerly undefeated #4 Cranford, the Tigers were certainly not disappointed to go against Delsea. The two rival powerhouses met each other in the past two group title matches, and South Plainfield won the last one in 2016, while Delsea walked away with the title in 2015.

Tossup matches are almost always the deciding factor in these kind of matches, and today the Tigers got a tremendous boost in the first toss-up, which was also the very first match of the dual.

Senior Jacob Painton said he wasn’t sure what to expect when he went out for his 132 pound match against Tim Spatola, and he even admitted afterwards that he felt the pressure of the situation. The pressure didn’t overcome Painton though, as he scored a takedown just under a minute and secured a cradle pin early in the first period.

“I was kind of nervous at first with it being the first match and a tossup,” Painton said.” I didn’t know what to expect from the other kid. That was a huge startup…and I think it got the team momentum up.”

The pin raised the Tigers and their many fans in attendance to their feet, and Joe Sacco followed Painton’s performance with a cradle pin of his own. In the next match, senior Kyle Bythell gutted out a tough 8-7 decison win over Nick Bennet, that involved Bythell fighting off his back for nearly half a period before scoring a go-ahead takedown in the last minute of the third period.

Pavlak said he knew the momentum shifted in their favor right after Painton’s pin.

“They bumped up a guy up thinking they were going to get a major and bonus points and they end up with their guy on his back and us getting six, so that was a big reversal there,” the coach said.

“You could see it in (Delsea’s) coaches and the team, they were dead after that and just sat on the sideline. It changed the whole momentum.”

Delsea used decision wins and  South Plainfield forfeit at 220 pounds to take a lead in the midway point of the match, but Jake Hoffman, Ryan Marston and Ben Lundy fought hard in decision losses to keep Delsea from scoring bonus points, and a decision win from Luke Niemeyer at 195 pounds, and a Zach DelVecchio  21-6 tech fall win over Jake Hallowell at 285 pounds, gave South Plainfield back the lead.

Joe Heilmann put the score out of reach when he notched a pin over Travis Griffith.

With the match already decided, senior co-captain Jake Giordano was sent out for a match against 20-5 former Region 2 champ Edison Echevarria. Giordano scored an impressive 5-4 overtime tie-breaker win, that’s sure to give the South Plainfield standout a lot of momentum heading into district competition, which starts this week.  

“I wanted a big win going into the postseason to give me some confidence and I’m ready now,” Giordano said.

The senior co-captain said he had mixed emotions about ending his last dual with South Plainfield.

“I’m pretty upset it’s over because the last four years have been some of the best years of my life, but I’m excited to move on to big things,” Giordano said. “I’m happy we ended on a good note, and there wasn’t a better team to beat then Delsea because of that rivalry.”


TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

The Athlete of the Week Luke Niemeyer Wrestling

The South Plainfield Wrestling Team sent six wrestlers to compete in the New Jersey Individual State Wrestling Championships, March 2nd-4th.  Thirty-two wrestlers throughout the state qualified for each weight class.  South Plainfield placed two out of the six qualifiers in the State of New Jersey.  Junior 195 pounder Luke Niemeyer became a state place winner for the first time in ...

The Athlete of the Week Joe Heilmann Wrestling

The South Plainfield Wrestling Team finished its terrific season this past weekend at the New Jersey Individual State Wrestling Championships.  The top four wrestlers from the Region Tournament in Union had the opportunity to wrestle in Atlantic City for an individual state title.  The Tigers placed two out of their six qualifiers in the State of New Jersey, Senior 126 pounder Joe ...

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...


Robert Corcia, 52, of Cresco, died Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at Lehigh Valley Pocono ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Letter from the Chapman Family

March 14, 2018

Dear Editor -


“Hey Dad, today in school the police officer played volleyball with us, it was fun.”


“My son came home from school today and told me that the police officer played football with them at recess”.


“I heard that one of the police officers sat down and ate lunch in the cafeteria with the children today. They loved ...

Community Happenings

A Tribute to our Veterans - An Evening with Jim Barone

March 15, 2018

The South Plainfield Elks Motorcycle Committee in conjunction with the Veteran's Committee is hosting an evening with Jim Barone, who is an Elvis impersonator, on April 28th, 2018. Doors open at 7:00pm and the Show starts at 8:00pm.   Tickets are $30.00 which includes the show and finger foods.  Tickets are limited please contact Brian Csobar 908-756-9425 or SP Elks ...

Grandparents Day at Riley School

March 18, 2018

Pictures of Grandparents Day at Riley School submitted by Debbie Boyle

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

March 17, 2018

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Eggert Volleyball Fundraiser a huge success.

March 12, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - On Sunday March 11th South Plainfield current and former residents came out in force to support the Eggert Family and stand up against cancer.  The Volleyball fundraiser was a great success and would not have happened without all of the great support from the community.  Once again South Plainfield showed that we are a tight knit community who looks out for each ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, March 21, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy's 4th Annual Spring Splendor ...


Sun, March 25, 1:00 PM

South Plainfield

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Thu, March 29, 7:30 PM

Wesley United Methodist Church, South Plainfield

Holy Thursday Communion Service at Wesley United ...

Religions And Spirituality

Fri, March 30, 3:00 PM

Wesley United Methodist Church, South Plainfield

Good Friday Prayer Vigil at Wesley United ...

Religions And Spirituality

Sat, April 7, 9:00 AM

Wesley United Methodist Church, South Plainfield

Rummage Sale at Wesley United Methodist Church

Arts & Entertainment Other Religions And Spirituality


Fri, April 13, 7:00 PM


SPRO Victory Dinner Honoring Councilwoman ...


Diegnan Bill To Secure At-Risk Nonprofits Becomes Law

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ -Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan to provide state grants to increase security at New Jersey’s nonprofit organizations deemed high-risk targets of threats, attacks, and other violent acts was recently signed into law.

“We know that individuals, with great animus, are looking to endanger our friends and neighbors for who they are, what they ...

Saturday Debris Cleanup Operations

The Department of Public Works will have three separate crews performing tree and branch removal tomorrow March 17th.  All branches and twigs should be brought to the curb. Cleanup efforts will not be completed tomorrow. This will be an on-going effort to remove all debris from the Borough. Additionally, the yard waste site will be operating on summer hours which are 8:00am – ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...


Did you miss a movie that you wanted to see in the theaters and don’t want to pay to rent it or for the DVD? Come to “Monday Night Movies” at the library.  It’s all the fun of a movie theater but none of the cost.  We are showing brand new releases every Monday night and we will be providing popcorn for all who attend. This week’s movie stars Margot Robbie ...

2018 Keystone Community St Patrick's Lunch

The South Plainfield Knights of Columbus Council 6203 held their annual Keystone Special Citizens Community Lunch at the Holy Savior Academy on March 10th. Every Month Father John Alvarado from Sacred Heart Church holds a special Mass for the Mentally Challenged residents from the Keystone Community as well as other residents from Middlesex County.  This month’s theme was St ...

If You Want to Experience the Awkwardness of Race Relations, Look No Further Than Sunday Morning

In a country that is more racially divided than ever, our churches reflect the divide on Sunday morning. In America, we miss the mark on integrating the faces and lives of many races and ethnicities into our Christian communities.

LifeWay conducted a survey of 994 churchgoers who attend religious services more frequently than just holidays. They also surveyed 1,000 Protestant senior pastors of ...

Press Releases

Join the Kennedy School for “A Night at the Casino”

March 19, 2018

The John F. Kennedy Elementary School’s PTSO is hosting their 4th Annual “A Night at the Casino” on Saturday, April 14th at 6:30 p.m.

Thanks to the generous donations from local businesses, the PTSO is transforming the American Legion Chaumont Post #243 into a casino complete with Black Jack, Roulette, Craps, and Poker.  Tickets for this adult evening of fun and ...