CHERRY HILL – It was about payback, clear and simple.
The Catholic wrestling team against Camden set out on Saturday to demonstrate that it is the best wrestling team in District 27, and achieved this – probably by a wide margin more than most expected.
The Irish wrestlers reached nine finals, took seven of them and were 39 points better than Shawnee, their closest rival, when team points were counted at the end. Camden Catholic scored 233, compared to 194 in the Renegades, who won the match in two matches 41-33 on 2 February.
Camden Catholic has become the district champion in each of the last five full seasons. The Irish won four in a row – the last in the 25th round – before last year’s event was canceled by COVID.
“It was hard to be in that room the week after Shawnee,” said Camden Catholics coach Bill Heverley. “And it wasn’t me. These were the guys. They decided they were going to take it up the step, and they did. I am happy for them. They were ready for it. They wanted to win it. “
Five times in the last round the Catholic wrestler from Camden faced wrestler Shawnee, and all five times it was the Irish wrestler who raised his hand. Junior Wayne Rold became the highlight of the evening when he avenged the 7-1 defeat to Nick Coton by beating senior Shawnee in a surprise victory in the 126-pound final.
For his efforts, Rold took with him the medal “Most Outstanding Wrestler”. Charlie Welch of Camden Catholic was named assistant coach of the year, and coach of the year was Kyle Packer of Shawnee.
“Wayne was really ready for this match,” Heverley said. “I think he came to the point of saying, hey, I’ve done this a few times with this kid. He had a small game plan, he came out and executed it, and most of all, he was very tough when he needed to. “
Cotton beat Rold in the first period and took a 3-1 lead with a run in the second, but the next takedown went to Rold, who made a low double and just closed Coton on the line.
Rold’s escape in the third period was the only goal in the third period.
It was Cotton who made the first shot in overtime. He broke off Rold’s head and nearly covered him, but Rold took his leg and continued to ride until his head escaped Coton’s hand. At this point, the referee began the countdown.
“It was crazy, you know? I didn’t even know I had a withdrawal. I just heard everyone welcome, ”said Rold, who improved to 22-8. “I was still fighting. I just kept going – just kept low, stayed in my position and kept fighting. I just stayed tough and kept riding on it and pressing on my feet. And it finally broke him and exhausted him. “
It was the second of those five joint finals between the Irish and the Renegades. The first was Jackson Young with a score of 6: 1 over Brett Balzan with a score of 120.
“The team points were big,” Rold said. “We’re trying to win, and those team points are changing everything. However, I did not focus on it – I was going to do my job and win. “
Chase Casey made it 3-on-3 when he pressed Anthony Duarte of Shawnee after a 1:43 144-pound final.
The Irish finished fourth with a score of 175 when Chris Olah beat Jay Stokes of Shawnee 11-3.
The last meeting of the teams took place in 215. Martin Cosgrove was a big favorite and quickly stopped him – he tilted Jackson Harris from Shawnee for the reverse points, then turned his hand and hugged him by the shoulders to finish the lock in 57 seconds.
Tournament officials chose 285 as the starting weight for the final, which meant that Cosgrove and Jonathan Graham, instead of being a strong 1-2, had to score the final round. Graham was the third seed in the heavyweight division, which put him in an unenviable position when he had to face the second and then the first.
But the Irish junior coped. After winning the Ross Worlds Cherry Hill West for the second time this season in the quarter-final round, he killed Mirak Kumas of Lenope in the semi-final round 13-8.
He was a draw, 1-1, with Aidan Heisenheimer of Cherokee in the dying seconds of the final, where, like Rold, he had a joint game plan.
“It was the last couple of seconds of the match. I didn’t really want to go into overtime, ”he said. “You just have to take a risk. Go get it. I hit a high groin. I saw the hole, took it, and thought in my head, “Shouldn’t I go on a biped?” ”
He rejected the idea as quickly as it came to mind.
“I learned a lesson last time,” Graham said. “Double legs on him don’t work very well because he has very big legs. I just went for a single and got two. “
The takedown took place 14 seconds before the bout. Heisenheimer ran away to reduce Graham’s lead to 3-2, but both wrestlers were still on their feet when the time was up.
While his teammates were focused on beating Shawnee, Graham said he was watching her home school. This two-match attempt took place last season, but there’s a reason Graham still remembered it.
“It cost me the match,” he said. “That was the reason we lost that day. I took it to heart and made this season something I wanted to get better. It’s satisfying, but now we’re moving to the regions, and when we’re done with the regions, I want to move to the states. ”
The Region 7 tournament will begin Friday at Moorstown High School. The top three placers of each weight came out ahead. The district champions say goodbye in the first round.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Yuri Clark, a 165-pound senior at Camden Catholic. “It’s good to win districts, but that’s not exactly my goal this year. It just goes with what I’m aiming for. “
There was nothing that could distract him on Saturday. Clark pressed John Yoder of Cherry Hill West and then Max Germain of Shawnee on their way to the championship round. There he dominated for the third time on the road to a technical victory over Ricky Snyder of Lenape.
“I could just resist his attacks and keep my feet moving,” Clark said. “Over the years I’ve won, but I haven’t been great on my feet, but now I’m trying to attack more rather than defend and it works for me. I fought well. “
If you saw this loss from Shawnee three weeks ago, “amazing” pretty well describes the difference.
“After that, we just went into the room and got better prepared,” Clark said. “We became a little overconfident, but after that we focused and said we needed to work harder in the room. You saw it today. “
Everyone has seen it. It was some idea.
“I honestly thought you could score very high points in this tournament,” Heverley said. – These guys are a very good team in the tournament. I’m not surprised they did as well as they did. We left there a couple of points, but I think in many ways we redeemed ourselves. In principle, we took revenge. “
John A. Lewis is a sports writer for the Burlington County Times, Courier Post and The Daily Journal. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ JohnLewis19. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscription.