HomeE/M SentinelE/M Sentinel SportsBarrons suffering from injuries, lack of wrestlers this season

Barrons suffering from injuries, lack of wrestlers this season

By Jeff Appelblatt

Woodbridge wrestling coach Mike Carbone knew his team had a number of voids in this year’s lineup. As a result, he didn’t expect this season to be anywhere as good as the last one.

The biggest problem the Barrons are facing showed clearly in the team’s five-team meet at Kingsway Regional High School Jan. 14. That problem was the handful of weight classes the Barrons were forced to forfeit.

“We’re a tournament team this year,” Carbone said. “We’re not going to fill every weight class.”

Jaden Catalano filled the 113-pound hole against Kingsway, losing that one on a two-minute fall. But the rest of the way, no one wrestled in the 113-pound category and for the day, no Barron wrestled at 120, 126 or 132 pounds, forcing Woodbridge into three forfeits against Kingsway and four apiece against Delsea Regional High School, Monroe Township High School and Old Bridge High School.

The Barrons were still able to handle Old Bridge, 43-21, but they couldn’t make it past the giveaway victories against the other schools.

Injuries have been the central problem for Woodbridge this year. The squad had a line of them before the season even began.

“Dale Alvarez broke his leg in football,” Carbone said. “Joey Brucato tore his meniscus.”

Some teams suffer from injuries throughout a season, and some are struck before things are even underway.

“We’re just not going to replicate last year,” the coach said.

Nevertheless, Woodbridge has still won seven of its first 13 meets.

The regulars are still dominating the mats, starting with Bryan McLaughlin and Alex LaGrippo. In fact, since placing third at the annual Beast of the East — becoming the first Barron to place at the big event — McLaughlin (9-0) hasn’t been beaten. LaGrippo was taken down once by Michael Porcaro of Sayreville War Memorial High School Dec. 21. That 2-1 decision was his one loss this year.

Fellow seniors Jack Quinn (7-2), Marquan Payne (8-1), Vincent Zecchino (7-3) and Zackary Cottrell (7-3) have also been major contributors this year for Woodbridge.

Last year, Woodbridge (23-5) had an explosive season. But this year, Carbone will reiterate it’s not the same.

“We only have 10 or 11 varsity guys,” Carbone said. “Everyone’s been excited [by this season], but we’re not a tournament team this year.”

The Barrons won’t stop competing, though, which they’ll look to do Jan. 18 when they host the team from South Brunswick High School in Woodbridge at 7 p.m.

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