POINT PLEASANT - It was a night where some sort of normalcy returned to the communities of Point Pleasant and neighboring Point Pleasant Beach.
One of the Shore Conference's best wrestling rivalries was back Friday night after a one-year absence with all its pomp and circumstance, hoopla and close to two hours of fans on both sides screaming their lungs out.
Point Pleasant Boro recorded a resounding 53-2 win before a capacity crowd at the Point Pleasant Memorial Middle School Gymnasium.
But, the big winner was the two communities themselves who love wrestling and the rivalry between the two teams.
'We're both wrestling towns'
"That's a credit to how special these two communities are,'' Point Boro head coach Pat Brady said. "It's a special place to live, work and to be a part of. I think tonight is the best example of it. We're both wrestling towns.''
The two-year-long pandemic has been rough on everybody, but it has really had an affect on scholastic wrestling.
The 2021 season had to be moved to last spring, and one of the many matches affected by the pandemic was Point Boro-Point Beach. The match was going to be held last March 27 outside at Point Boro's Al Saner Field, but it had to be canceled because of program shutdowns.
"It just felt like we were missing something during the season,'' Point Boro senior 132-pounder Ryan Aurin said. "It's not the whole wrestling season without Beach-Boro. It's the match everyone looks forward to.''
"We feel for those seniors from last year's team that they couldn't have this match,'' Brady said.
The Panthers had 727 days to stew about their last meeting with the Garnet Gulls - a 28-27 defeat on criteria (eight bouts won to six) - or, as Brady said, "Tying them in 2020." That is Point Beach's only win over Point Boro since 1998.
There was never any doubt Point Boro, which was heavily favored going into the match, was going to get payback Friday night.
The Panthers won the first four bouts and 13 of the 14. They received pins from Jared Drews (106), Jack Thompson (150), Tyler Criscuolo (165) and Brett Leschinski (190) and major decisions from Joseph DeAngelo (113) and Frankie Burgio (120).
The only win for Point Beach, which did not have a takedown or reversal until the fifth bout, came when Rowan McLoughlin won 5-3 over Matt Modrezcki at 126 pounds on a takedown with 36.7 seconds remaining in sudden victory. A locking hands call on Modrezicki late in the third period sent that bout into sudden victory.
Point Boro won its share of close bouts, too, with the most dramatic coming at 132 where Aurin got a takedown and then three back points late in the third period off a Peterson to rally for a 9-7 win over Jude Bowers.
"I've worked so hard for this and I didn't want to give it up in the last minute,'' Aurin said. "I just kept going and kept going. I couldn't let myself give up the last 30 seconds of the match. I had to stick it out.''
Aurin's win resulted in a frenzied reaction from the Point Boro wrestlers, coaches and fans.
But, the whole night was emotional for everyone associated with the two programs. Their big night was back, and it was a night for both communities to celebrate their rivalry with each other.
They showed wrestling, even in the midst of the pandemic, is still capable of creating a special night for those who love the sport and even those who attend because it is an event.
"I'm just so happy for the kids,'' Brady said. "For them to be able to experience this environment is special. Both of our programs have great tradition and to see the communities behind it is something special that these towns take a lot of pride in. For it to happen tonight was special for the kids.''
"It was so much fun hearing everyone talk about it beforehand,'' Aurin said. "After not having it for two years, it was amazing. It was just the best.''
Point Boro 53, Point Beach 2
HWT: Luke Wilson (PBo) d. Ryley Thomas 4-1.
106: Jared Drews (PBo) p. Gavin McLaughlin 3:34.
113: Joseph DeAngelo (PBo) md. Luke DeBenedett 16-2.
120: Frankie Burgio (PBo) md. P.J. Niehe 9-0.
126: Rowan McLoughlin (PBe) d. Matt Modrezcki 5-3 (Sudden Victory).
132: Ryan Aurin (PBo) d. Jude Bowers 9-7.
138: John Tornquist (PBo) . Owen DeBenedett 6-4.
144: Ryan Acquisto (PBo) d. Jonah Bowers 2-1.
150: Jack Thompson (PBo) p. Jack Schulter :38.
157: Jacob Messano (PBo) d. Joe Beley 12-8.
165: Tyler Criscuolo (PBo) p. Connor Loughran 1:45.
175: Tanner Hynes (PBo) d. Radek Kacmarsky 7-1.
190: Brett Leschinski (PBo) p. Dawson McPherson 2:31.
215: Justin Krosnicki (PBo) d. Reid Niebling 3-2 (Ultimate tiebreaker).
NOTE: Point Beach was deducted a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct after the 132-pound bout.
Red Bank 46, Asbury Park 36
Red Bank Catholic 58, Central 12
Ocean 36, Middletown North 35: Consecutive pins by returning region sixth-place finishers Nicholas Benner (157), Shane Cartagena-Walsh (165) and Najib Noorzaie (175) followed by decisions by two-time state qualifier Jared Tracey (190) and Iqbal Ahmadi (215) enabled the Spartans to build a 36-18 lead with three bouts left and they held on for the win over the Lions.
The pins by Benner, Cartagena-Walsh and Noorzaie all came in the first period.
Middletown North had first period pins from Kiernan Foley (heavyweight) and Brady Klinsky (106) and a technical fall from Jacob Portman (113) in the final three bouts. Ocean would have won had the match ended in a tie because it won eight bouts.
A win by medical forfeit at 150 pounds had given Middletown North an 18-12 lead after six bouts before Ocean went on its five-bout, 24-point run.
Toms River East 42, Pinelands 29
Wall 36, Keansburg 15
Monmouth 69, Highland Park 9
Delaware Valley 34, Raritan 32: A 10-3 decision by returning region qualifier Chris Colasurdo over Quinn Peters in the final bout at 150 pounds gave the Terriers the win over the Rockets in the renewal of what has been one of the state's great NJSIAA sectional rivalries since 2004.
The two met regularly for many years in the NJSIAA Central Group 2 championship match, usually at Delaware Valley. They will not meet in this year's state team tournament because they are in different sections. Raritan is in Central 2. Delaware Valley is in Central 1.
Raritan, which trailed 21-0 after four bouts, had a four-bout, 18-point run from 126-144 to grab a 32-31 lead headed into the final bout..
Alex Auletta's win at 144 gave the Rockets their first and only lead of the match. Returning region qualifier Zach Reilly (138) pinned and Ryan Mansueto (126) and Bradem Kmak (132) won by major decision and technical fall respectively during the run.
A key result came at 190 pounds as Delaware Valley's Matt Schneider pinned Kieran Falzon in a matchup of returning region qualifiers.
Brick Memorial 54, Rancocas Valley 16: Returning state champion Anthony Santaniello (132) and two-time region top six finisher Braden Scott (138) pinned in the first two bouts and the Mustangs went on to the resounding win over the Red Devils.
Two-time state qualifier Ryan Smith (150), freshman Harvey Ludington (175) and heavyweight Sam Azzaretti (heavyweight) pinned in 35, 20 and 11 seconds respectively.
Hector Rivera (215), Gavin Martin (106), returning state champion Evan Tallmadge (120) and 2020 state qualifier Lucas Torre (126) also all pinned.
Bergen Catholic 51, CBA 12: The Crusaders collected three pins and a forfeit in the first four bouts from 175-heavyweight and built a 32-0 lead after six bouts in their win over the Colts.
Two-time state seventh-place finisher Garrett Totten (126) pinned and returning state eighth-place finisher Alex Nini (120) and 2020 state qualifier Tyler Barrett (150) each won by decision for CBA. Barrett edged returning state qualifier Eric Broadie 5-4. It was Nini's first bout since Jan. 8.
Bergen Catholic won the featured bout of the match at 138 as returning state runner-up and three-time state top three finisher Joseph Cangro defeated returning state eighth-place finisher Julian George 5-3 in sudden victory.
Also, Bergen Catholic's highly-touted Nicholas Fea, who won the 160-pound weight class at the power-packed Powerade Tournament on Dec. 30, defeated two-time state qualifier Zander Silva 7-3.
JACK WELCH DUALS
AT MOORESTOWN HIGH SCHOOL
Howell 57, Cinnaminson 12
Howell 61, Long Branch 12
Howell 66, Morris Hills 15
Long Branch 36, Morris Hills 29
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Shore NJ Wrestling: Another special night for Point Boro, Point Beach