By Andy Loigu
On Thursday, July 27, teams representing Washington and Phillipsburg (next year’s projected Blue Streaks’ and Stateliners’ high school varsity teams) staged their sixth annual mid-summer match, attended by nearly 1,000 hard core fans at the new Phillipsburg High School gym. P’burg won 54-10 on the strength of seven falls, to take a 5-1 lead in the summer series. Proceeds from the match were donated to Pin Cancer, a collective effort by the US wrestling community to raise funds for cancer research and to raise awareness of the insidious impact of this deadly disease.
Phillipsburg’s pinners were Logan Maczko, Cullen Day, Luke Hardin, Travis Jones, Brian Meyer, Lance Wissing, and Pat Sharpe in the evening’s final bout. Austin Roth won by tech fall (19-1), and Jayson Zinsmeister won by major decision. Kyle Tino and Shamyr Brodders won by regular decision for the burg.
The Blue Streaks’ most experienced grapplers, who have realistic hopes of reaching the state championships in Atlantic City next March, won their bouts. Kyle Wulff won by major decision and Chris Ostir and Nick Galka won by regular decision.
Due to threatening skies and an ominous weather forecast, the match was moved indoors. It was originally scheduled to be held outdoors at Maloney Stadium.
Outdoor wrestling on summer evenings has proven to be problematic. This columnist recalls watching the Streaks and Liners slipping and sliding while trying to wrestle in the 2014 match, because as the outdoor temps cooled, condensation was creating water on the mats. No matter how many times the mats got toweled down, the slippery conditions continued.
Despite the one-sided outcome, the Blue Streaks’ coaches and wrestlers felt they benefitted from the experience. Summer wrestling is all about getting better, in preparation for the winter season. One learns more in losing to a challenging opponent, than by winning easily against an inferior foe.
Appreciation is extended to Joe Benvenuto, Chip Castner, and Frank Leitner, experienced and certified referees who live in the area, who took the time to officiate the match.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.