The Point Beach and Point Boro wrestling teams will be competing in the District 23 tournament on Saturday at Brick Memorial High School.
Also competing in the District 23 tournament is Asbury Park, Brick Memorial, Brick Township, Manasquan, Monmouth Regional, Neptune, Shore Regional, St. Rose and Wall.
POINT PLEASANT BEACH
Point Beach has 30 district champions in school history and no team titles. The team returns one District 23 finalist in Tray Watkins and a third-place finisher in Riley Kelly.
The Gulls had seven wrestlers eclipse the 20-win mark. John Finnerty, a freshman 106 pounder, recently picked up his 27th win to put him at 27-4 on the year. Finnerty now holds the freshman record for wins in a season. He passed a former Beach standout Matt Rega, who had 26 wins. This weekend, the Gulls should have several top 5 seeds throughout the lineup.
POINT PLEASANT BOROUGH
Point Boro returns two District 23 winners in senior Ryan Harter, who also won as a sophomore in 2011, along with Dan Nobbs. Both went on to compete in the region six tournament, where Nobbs placed second to advance to the state finals, held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Nobbs has 57-7 career record. Harter has been one win away from reaching the state finals the past two seasons. He has 103 career wins.
Point Boro has won four district team titles but not one since 1991. The Panthers have 84 individual champions in school history. If the Panthers can come home this year with a district champion it will be their 17th consecutive year with at least one title winner.
The big question mark will be how Harter performs in the 132-pound weight class. Last season, he competed in the 113-pound weight class. As a sophomore he compet- ed in the 103-pound weight class.
Other District 23 returning champions from outside Point Beach and Point Boro include Joe Ghione [Brick Memorial], Karl Waldron [Neptune], Alec Donovan [Brick Memorial], Cliff Ruggiero [Brick Memorial], Nick Costa [Brick Memorial], Dan Wojtaszek [Brick Memorial], Dae’Sean Brown [Neptune], Matt Moore [Brick Memorial], John Seidle [Neptune] and Domingo Perez [Asbury Park].
Point Pleasant Beach Hs (PPBH) 47.0 Shore Regional (SHRE) 20.0
120: Giancarlo Crivelli, PPBH, pinned Dhillon Barbetti, SHRE, 2:00. 126: Trey Watkins, PPBH, tech. fall Seth Orcutt, SHRE, 4:35 16-1. 132: James Finnerty, PPBH, pinned Alex Johnson, SHRE, 2:30. 138: Sam Koenig, SHRE, dec. Tore Capriglione, PPBH, 4-2. 145: Conor Dowd, SHRE, maj. dec. Jake DeLorenzo, PPBH, 9-1. 152: Riley Kelly, PPBH, forf. . 160: Derek Joyce, SHRE, maj. dec. Bobby Parlow, PPBH, 10-2. 170: Dylan Vieira, SHRE, dec. Jake Fioretti, PPBH, 5-2. 182: Andrew Smith, SHRE, dec. Bronson Liguori, PPBH, 7-3. 195: Joe Wergryzniak, PPBH, pinned Austin Lucisano, SHRE, 4:28. 220: Dave Musselman, SHRE, dec. Timothy Morris, PPBH, 1-0. 285: Thomas D`Amore, PPBH, inj. def. Robbie Fallon, SHRE, . 106: John Finnerty, PPBH, forf. . 113: Vincent Storino, PPBH, forf. .
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A great tradition will return tonight at Point Pleasant Borough High School when Point Boro and Point Beach wrestle after the longstanding rivalry in the sport took a nearly seven-year break.
The last time the two teams competed was Jan. 28, 2006, when the Point Boro rolled to a 45-11 victory over Point Beach. Back then, Point Boro boasted wrestlers like state finalist, region six and district champion Jeff Jacob in the 160-pound weight class. The Panthers also had district 23 champion Matt Nickerson  and finalists Skyler Engelken , Kyle Coleman , Anthony Tarantin , Marty Infante  and Gage Bongiovi . Point Beach had tough wrestlers like region six champion Matt Rega  and district 23 finalist Aris Sotiris .
This year, both teams seem to be evenly matched with tough wrestlers on both sides. The Panthers’ top wrestlers are all bunched together in the lower weight classes in Ryan Harter, Dan Nobbs and Ryan Budzek. This year, Budzek won the Walter Woods Tournament and Harter placed third. Nobbs did not place in the Walter Woods tournament but reached the state finals last year in Atlantic City.
Point Beach has four Holmdel Holiday Tournament champions in John Finnerty, Tray Watkins, Tore Capriglione and Riley Kelly, along with three finalists in James Finnerty, Tim Morris and Jake Fioretti. Both Point Pleasant Borough coach Pat Brady and Point Pleasant Beach coach Jeff Bower are excited about competing in the match.
“It is exciting,” Brady said. “It is a great friendly rivalry between two towns and two great programs. They are two teams that are going to wrestle their hearts out and put it all on the line.
“Whenever the Beach wrestles the Boro, anything can happen,” Brady added. Coach Bower shared the same sentiment when talking about Point Boro. “I am just happy to have the wrestling match back,” Bower said. “These kids grow up together and it is great for them to wrestle against each other again. The match brings together the two towns. We lost the [annual] football game, which I am not happy about. I just like the rivalry. It is a big dual meet.
“They are very tough,” he added.
Once Point Boro senior guard Ryan Thrunk hit an improbable game-tying three-pointer with two seconds left on the clock, it seemed like the eighth-seeded Panthers were destined to win Sunday night’s game against ninth-seeded Brick Memorial at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River.
The Panthers were getting the shots they wanted, only head basketball coach Kevin Hynes was hoping a few more would eventually start going in the basket to give his team the lead in overtime.
They never did.
At least, not enough of them, sending the Panthers limping into the holidays with 63-61 first round overtime loss in the WOBM Christmas Classic Holiday Tournament.
Mike Golden led the Mustangs scoring four of his team-high 17 points in overtime. Ken Covolus also had a solid performance for the Mustangs scoring five of his 15 points in the second half.
Senior forward Kyle McGarry led the Panthers scoring efforts with 12 of his game-high 18 points in the second half. Thrunk added seven of his 12 points in overtime.
After Brick Memorial first jumped out to a lead, the Panthers had a chance to tie the game in overtime with six seconds left on the clock, but two attempts could not find the bottom of the net.
The Panthers will go on to play in the consolation bracket of the WOBM Christmas Classic. The Panthers will play No. 16 Brick Township, Wednesday at 1 p.m., who was demolished by number-one seeded Toms River North, 49-22.
For more on the game, see the Dec. 28 issue of The Ocean Star.
A state championship is something that is difficult to come by in high school athletics. However, with the addition of Katelynn Flaherty and Marina Mabrey to the Garnet Gulls girls basketball team, some students are already banking on it.
“Everyone is like, ‘Are you going to win a state title this year,’” Mabrey said, with a laugh, referring to when she first arrived at the school. “I am like, ‘I am going to try!’”
How is that for pressure?
But really, can you blame Point Beach’s students?