Raritan wrestling team fighting for B North title

first_imgStaff Writer With a good mix of experienced and younger competitors in the program, the Raritan High School wrestling team is heading in the right direction, new coach Rob Nucci said. The Rockets are 6-3 overall and sit in second place in the Shore Conference’s Class B North division with a 3-1 mark. Among Raritan’s wins is a victory over Shore Regional, and Nucci’s team did well in a loss against powerful Ocean, which sits atop B North, dropping four matches by one point each. The Rockets’ next two matches will be against B North foes, both at home. This afternoon St. John Vianney provides the opposition, and Long Branch will come to visit on Saturday. With a win over Vianney, the Rockets will put themselves in position to challenge for the division win, as Ocean has a number of tough matches remaining on its schedule, including dates with SJV, Jackson (ranked No. 3 in the Shore), and Old Bridge, the state’s eighth-ranked team. However, the Rockets are not looking ahead, concentrating instead on taking it one match at a time. “We’re just trying to be patient as we look to move the program forward,” Nucci said. “Our team is getting better and better, and I think we’re going to upset some good teams before the season is over.” Nucci, the former head coach at Pinelands, joined the Raritan program as an assistant last winter, working under Rich Dunnells, who had returned to the Raritan sidelines after a four-year absence to help the Rockets to a winning record. Dunnells and Nucci flip-flopped positions this time around. Raritan has received strong efforts up and down the lineup, led by 130-pound junior Andy Voutsinas and sophomore Matt Pendle, both 11-3. Senior Frank Carroll (145) is 10-5. Sophomores Mike Sagos (135) Chad Bonnell (103) are also doing well. Sagos is 10-3, while Bonnell is 8-3. Junior heavyweight Alan Jacob is 9-6 with a team-leading seven pins, after earning his stripes with a 3-16 mark last winter. Other members of the team include seniors Tom Johnson (140), 8-3; Henry Ip (112), 6-5; Eric Brown (152), 5-6; and Rob Kinzel (171) and Christian Harden (189), each 4-6; juniors Dominic Mingione (160) and Lee Irwin (189); sophomore Rob Steiner (215), 7-5; and freshman Jason Sagos (119), 4-2. “We don’t have one really great wrestler, but we do have a very solid lineup,” Nucci said. “They give it their best every time.” The coach said he is also encouraged by Hazlet’s growing recreation program, and noted that the rec parents raised funding to begin a program in the middle school. By Warren Rappleyea last_img

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