CHERRY HILL – Not Nathan Taylor. No DJ DiPietro. No problem.

In one of the strangest wrestling matchups between two top-5 South Jersey teams in recent memory, an undermanned Kingsway Regional High School team slipped past an even more undermanned Camden Catholic for a 33-31 win Friday night .

There were six defeats in the much-anticipated encounter, three from each side.

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“For South Jersey wrestling, it wasn’t the dual meet we wanted with these two teams, but there’s a lesson there as well – show up, be prepared and be ready to compete,” Kingsway head coach Mike Barikian said.

“Neither of us were at full strength, but I think we both understand the bigger picture. We have some real issues that we are dealing with. You try to recover by the end of the year.”

Barikian wouldn’t go into detail about why two of the Dragons’ top producers — Taylor and DiPietro — were out of the lineup, but he expected both to return for the team’s playoff season, which begins on Feb. 6.

Kingsway's Jason Meola, right, tries to escape the hold of Camden Catholic's Lazarus Joyce during the 106-pound wrestling match at Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. Meola defeated Joyce 8-5 .

Despite being without two of his top guns, Kingsway (10-8) turned to another strong wrestler, Jason Meola, to get the win.

Battling some nagging injuries over the last couple of weeks, the 106-pound Meola is putting together his best fight of the season. The sophomore, last winter’s Region 8 runner-up, earned an 8-5 decision against previously undefeated Lazarus Joyce by scoring the final four points in the third period, including two defensive points.

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