Spotswood looks to improve as wrestlers gain experience

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By Jimmy Allinder

Spotswood High School’s wrestling team struggled mightily last season, finishing 2-18 overall in dual meets and 2-5 in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Blue Division.

The Chargers are a small Group II school, where it is commonplace for a team to not have enough wrestlers to fill all 14 weight classes. Another problem is many who do step on the mat have little or no experience.

Head coach Dan Krainski said progress has been made minimizing those issues. Spotswood’s record was 1-2 record before a match with Metuchen High School Jan. 3 and Carteret High School Jan. 10.

“Our team’s strength is depth,” he said. “That could allow us to shift some wrestlers to other weight classes against certain opponents so we can put a full lineup on the mat.”

The experience is primarily in the middle weights, which Krainski hopes results in bonus points to make up for the potential lack of scoring in the lower weights. However, the fact remains the Chargers are woefully young.

Six freshmen — Tom Perpente (106 pounds), Jacob Oster (113), Connor Johnson (120), Zain Khan (126), Matt Bohinski (138) and Michael Diaz (145) — could start. The lineup also includes junior Alex Cohen (113), sophomore Connor Platt (120), senior Justin Thompson (132) and junior Alexander Smith (138).

Junior Shea Obado (152) was 15-7 last year and second in the district, and he is joined by junior Joe Sorrentino (152), who is another quality wrestler.

There’s also senior Brandon Grover (160), who was 15-7 last year with a fourth-place finish in the districts, junior Tyler Jacobs (160), junior Michael LeRoy (170), junior Donald Shaffer (182), sophomore Nick Komosinski (195), senior Terrell Lewis (285) and junior Alex Hartman (285). The Chargers don’t list a wrestler at 220 who competes on a regular basis.

“Improving our record from last year is our first task,” Krainski said. “We want to be more competitive in dual meets by minimizing points [against them] in the lower weights and get more from the middle of the lineup. The question is how fast can we adapt to varsity wrestling?”

While youth may be Spotswood’s Achilles’ heel, it could be a strength in a year or two, Krainski said.

“We didn’t graduate anyone from last year’s team, so those back should improve, which will help balance the [inexperience of the] freshmen in the lineup,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll get better as the season progresses.”