SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - When the South Plainfield wrestling team took their home mat to face Ocean Township in the semifinal of the Central Jersey Group 3, NJSIAA tournament, they weren’t thinking about the possibility of getting another sectional title. Instead, they remained focused on their immediate goal, the match right in front of them. That focus helped the Tigers defeat the Spartans of Ocean Township 42-18, which booked their ticket to the finals.
The match started off a bit rocky for the Tigers, at least initially. The first match of the night saw South Plainfield’s Matt Szeman take on Brain Oleson of Ocean Township at 285 lbs. The heavyweight tilt was a hard fought back and forth affair that eventually saw Oleson ride out Szeman in the third overtime period to get the three point decision win for the Spartans.
The Spartans lead was short lived though. In the very next match, freshman 113 lber Joe Heilmann notched a first period win for the Tigers. Several other Tigers were able to get six points for their team. Ryan Walsh, Dane Hedden and Christian Gonzalez all scored pins for South Plainfield. Dakota Pauls capped of the night for the Tigers when he pinned Ocean Township’s Clayton Oates in the last match of the evening at 220 lbs.
“They’re tough” said South Plainfield assistant coach John Foscolo in reference to the Spartans. “They have a great program. We’ve had tough battles with them; we’ve seen them in groups tons of times. I think they’re a real tough program and they’ve got a lot of studs and we were just able to get the job done.”
Jordan Handwerger, Jake Giordano, Kyle Bythell and Frank Ferraro also got wins on the night.
“I’ve been really impressed with how our guys have been feeding of each other lately.” said Foscolo. “They’re really coming together as a team. We’re excited to see what they can do and Friday and hopefully we can build from there”.
The Tigers are now preparing to face Cranford at home on Friday. The team is emphasizing on focus. Focusing on the task at hand, and focusing on what got them through the season.
“Today was a great step in the right directions.” said Foscolo. “We tried not to look ahead, so we wanted to focus on the match tonight and now the only thing we’re looking at is trying to give it our all against Cranford on Friday and trying to win a sectional title. Cranford’s a really well coached and tough team and it’s going to be a tough match. They’ve got great individuals. We’re just trying to stay focused and wrestle our match”