Before the 2021 wrestling season began, Coach Matt Shepherd asked his Freehold High School wrestlers to give their “full commitment” to the team and to follow all COVID-19 protocols so every person could wrestle as much as possible this season.
The coronavirus pandemic changed New Jersey’s traditional high school wrestling season. Instead of starting just after Thanksgiving and wresting into March, the 2021 season was compressed into March and April.
Shepherd has seen his wrestlers follow the rules and do their best to allow themselves the opportunity to compete in 2021.
On April 1 in Little Silver, the Colonials faced Shore Conference B North Division foe Red Bank Regional and won their third dual meet of the season as they defeated the Buccaneers 38-30.
“Our guys have been working hard in the wrestling room and it’s nice to see them get a victory,” Shepherd said. “They have been doing everything the right way, whether it’s in the classroom, in the practice room, or at home. It’s nice to come out on top.”
Two Colonials scored pins against the Bucs. Osvaldo Baez-Augire (160) began the dual meet with a win for Freehold by pinning his opponent in 42 seconds.
Tyler Goldstein (138) recorded Freehold’s second pin just when one was needed. With three bouts to go in the dual meet and Freehold leading, 32-18, Goldstein sealed the win by pinning Robbie Gaupp in the third period and giving the Colonials a 38-18 lead.
138: Pin at 5:04 for Tyler Goldstein gives @fbwrestle a 38-18 lead with 2 matches to go. Freehold Boro on its wait to win #3 on the season. CC: @FBHSathletics @central_jersey #NJWrestling 🤼 pic.twitter.com/mM40dxw28A
— Steven Bassin (@SBassin_Sports) April 1, 2021
Red Bank scored two pins to finish the dual meet, but it was not enough to catch the Colonials.
Goldstein’s bout was his second varsity appearance and he recorded his first pin at the varsity level, making the moment even more special for him.
“It’s definitely pretty high on the list,” Goldstein said about his first varsity pin. “It felt really good to help put the team over the top.”
Michael Connelly (132) won his match by an 18-3 technical fall for the Colonials, while Riley Tate (126) scored a 7-2 decision in his bout.
Andrew Reiff (182), Alberto Pantoja (220) and Jonathon Johnson (285) all won via forfeit for the Colonials. The 113-pound bout went down as a double-forfeit for both squads.
Connelly, who was a Region 6 tournament qualifier a year ago, said he wrestled his best match of the season against his Red Bank opponent and thought a lot of his teammates competed well in their bouts against the Bucs.
“A lot of kids wrestled really well. Red Bank had some pretty good kids, too, so it was a good match,” he said.
Freehold (3-5) will wrestle in Pod 6 of the Shore Conference postseason competition that will begin next week.
Shepherd is looking forward to seeing his wrestlers finish the 2021 campaign on a good note and said, “It’s exciting to see these guys get the chance to train and compete on the mat.”