Bordentown wrestlers happily embrace return to the mat

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Bordentown-Florence wrestler Cameron Williams scores a takedown against Pennsauken's Ray Pacheco during their 120-pound bout on March 16 in Bordentown. Pennsauken defeated Bordentown-Florence 40-33. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Bordentown-Florence wrestler Collin Hartz pushes Pennsauken's Nasser Gregory down to the mat during their 132-pound bout on March 16 in Bordentown. Hartz won the match by a 12-2 major decision.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Bordentown-Florence wrestler Julien DeLorenzo wins his 152-pound match by pinfall against Pennsauken's Tahir Lacy on March 16 in Bordentown. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Bordentown-Florence wrestler Cameron Williams scores a takedown against Pennsauken's Ray Pacheco during their 120-pound bout on March 16 in Bordentown. Pennsauken defeated Bordentown-Florence 40-33. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Bordentown-Florence wrestler Collin Hartz pushes Pennsauken's Nasser Gregory down to the mat during their 132-pound bout on March 16 in Bordentown. Hartz won the match by a 12-2 major decision.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Bordentown-Florence wrestler Julien DeLorenzo wins his 152-pound match by pinfall against Pennsauken's Tahir Lacy on March 16 in Bordentown. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

A year of waiting for an opportunity to hit the mat finally came to an end for the Bordentown Regional High School and Florence Township Memorial High School wrestling team on March 16 when the Scotties hosted Pennsauken High School in their season-opening match.

An offseason of doubt and optimism was put to rest as 106 pounder Andrew Magee stepped onto the mat to pick up a victory by forfeit to begin the match for the Scotties.

The season-opening contest saw three Scotties score victories via a pin and a total of six Bordentown-Florence wrestlers have their hands raised in a 40-33 loss to Pennsauken.

Always believing his wrestlers were going to get their time to shine on the mat this season, Coach Jimmy Gill was happy to see his athletes get the chance to compete on the mat in a hard-fought losing effort.

“The biggest thing was they got the opportunity to put their shoes on and wrestle,” Gill said. “I think it was a great feeling for the young guys and the old guys.”

Bordentown-Florence won three-straight matches from 120-132 pounds to grab an early 21-3 lead on Pennsauken.

Cameron Williams (120) won his match by a 17-2 technical fall, while Collin Hartz (132) earned a 12-2 major decision to pick up his first win of the season.

Dominic Kolaski (126) scored the first pinfall of the season for the Scotties, driving through Pennsauken’s Andrew Jamieson for a takedown and then pushing his shoulders to the mat for the pin at 1:39.

The next pinfall by the Scotties came in the 152-pound bout as sophomore Julien DeLorenzo extended the Bordentown-Florence lead to 27-12 by pinning Tahir Lacy with just one second to go in the first period.

Missing all of last year due to injury, DeLorenzo said getting a pin in his first career high school match was pretty “uplifting” to him.

“It was awesome,” DeLorenzo said about his match. “Once I got my hands on him I felt really confident. I’m happy we got the chance to wrestle (tonight).”

The last match won by Bordentown-Florence on the night was at 220 pounds by freshman Nick Levach, who, like DeLorenzo, made his first career high school bout one to remember by pinning his opponent in the first period to win the bout.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Levach said after his victory. “It feels great. I wasn’t expecting it but I took what I got.”

Gill was very impressed by the performances of DeLorenzo, Williams, Levach, Hartz and 138-pounder Jeremy Nappa during the team’s season-opening contest.

He feels those five wrestlers and a couple of others on the team can surprise people this season and make a run for an appearance at regions and even possibly the state tournament.

“The young guys are really coming together,” Gill said. “They’re wrestling tough whether in a win or a loss. If they get the opportunity, I think they can surprise some people.”

Gill’s Bordentown-Florence squad is filled mostly with underclassmen this season. Jack Carey is the only senior on the team’s roster this winter but was unable to compete in the season opener due to injury.

Carey, who Gill said has meant a lot to the program over the last couple of years, will wrestle at 195 pounds when he returns to the lineup for Bordentown-Florence.

The Scotties had to forfeit three of the 14 matches on the night and it, unfortunately, led to the team coming out on the losing end.

After the team’s dual meet against Pennsauken, Gill preached to his squad about continuing to work hard in practice and to focus on the next opportunity at hand.

That next match for the Scotties is March 18 when they travel to face Moorestown High School.

“We try to preach just working hard and getting the next best thing,” said Gill. “Don’t get too high. Don’t get too low. Just keep moving forward.”