Red Bank Regional wrestlers appreciate chance to compete in 2021

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Red Bank Regional High School 152-pounder Luis Santamaria pins Freehold High School's Xavier Dudiak during the second period of their match on April 1 in Little Silver. Freehold defeated Red Bank 38-30.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Red Bank Regional High School 120-pounder Michael Meehan drops a 7-2 decision to Freehold High School's Riley Tate on April 1 in Little Silver.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Red Bank Regional High School 106-pounder Dom Sena hangs on for a 5-4 decision over Freehold High School's Sam Sheridan on April 1 in Little Silver. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Red Bank Regional High School 152-pounder Luis Santamaria pins Freehold High School's Xavier Dudiak during the second period of their match on April 1 in Little Silver. Freehold defeated Red Bank 38-30.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Red Bank Regional High School 120-pounder Michael Meehan drops a 7-2 decision to Freehold High School's Riley Tate on April 1 in Little Silver.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Red Bank Regional High School 106-pounder Dom Sena hangs on for a 5-4 decision over Freehold High School's Sam Sheridan on April 1 in Little Silver. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

Being on the mat in 2021 has been fun for the members of the Red Bank Regional High School wrestling team.

Coach Scott Ferris, who is at the helm of the Buccaneers for his 21st season, is looking at 2021 as a growing year for his young squad and scheduling as many matches as possible for his wrestlers.

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.

“To me, it’s all about getting kids matches this year. I’m thankful we are having a season and that the kids can get out of all this quarantine stuff and wrestle. They are excited to be at practice every day and are happy to get to do a sport,” Ferris said.

As Ferris focuses on coaching the Bucs during an abbreviated season, he is also preparing wrestlers like Phil Stolfa (126), Anthony Gaeta (195) and Dom Sena (106) for individual success in the post-season.

Ferris believes those three wrestlers have a chance to be selected to participate in a Super Region Tournament and advance to the state tournament in Phillipsburg. District tournaments will not be held this season.

Stolfa was a Region 5 qualifier last year as a sophomore and won a team-high 30 matches. This year he was 6-1 through seven matches, losing only to Shore Regional High School’s Jack Maida, who is a three-time state tournament qualifier.

Ferris said he is excited about Stolfa’s performance and believes a state tournament berth is within his reach.

Gaeta has dropped down from 220 pounds to 195 pounds this season. After winning 25 matches a year ago, the senior was 5-2 in seven bouts. He is trying to reach the region tournament for the first time.

Sena, who is a freshman, has been impressive and Ferris is excited about his future with the program. Sena continued his successful campaign with a 5-4 decision over Freehold’s Sam Sheridan.

Red Bank was selected to Pod 7 of the Shore Conference postseason pod competition that will begin on April 5. The Bucs were 1-6 in dual meets following a 38-30 loss to Freehold High School on April 1 at home in Little Silver.

Stolfa, Gaeta, Jonathan Balanzar Tepox (145) and Luis Santamaria (150) all won by pin against Freehold. Red Bank’s Patrick Cody (170) scored a takedown in the third period and defeated Marcus Murphy, 9-7.

 

With 2021 serving as a developmental year in Ferris’ eyes, the goal for the Bucs has been to gain experience and have fun during the short season.

“It has been a fun season. We make sure in practice every day that we are keeping our spirits high and having fun and keeping everyone safe,” the coach said.