AFTER EPIC 2019 SEASON, TOMS RIVER NORTH WRESTLING NOT LETTING UP
By Mike Ready
TOMS RIVER – Coming off one of the best seasons in program history, there’s been no letting up for the Mariners as they continue to roll and are on pace to match or even better last year’s stellar season.
A year ago, Toms River North had program-defining wins over Southern and Jackson Memorial that enabled them to win Class A South for their first outright division title in program history and first division title since sharing the A Division with Lakewood in 1971.
They finished ranked third in the Shore Conference and No. 20 in the state after posting a 20-4 record and took third place in the Shore Conference Tournament while placing second as a team in District 26.
In the NJSIAA South Jersey, Group V semifinals they dropped a tough 34-26 decision to Howell, which finished second in the Shore and sixth in the state.
So far this season the Mariners are 12-3 and 6-0 in A South and ranked second in the Shore and eighth in the state. Their three losses are to Kingsway (9-1), Howell (15-1) by two points, and Phillipsburg (5-1) by one point, ranked fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively in the state.
Despite graduating three District 26 champions – including Louie Gagliardo, who also took first in Region 7 at 106 pounds, and Nick Reilly, who captured third place in Region 7 at 120 pounds as well – the Mariners returned five wrestlers with over 20 wins a year ago and another two with double-digit wins, including senior Nick Boggiano, who posted a 41-7 record, placed second in District 26, third in Region 7 and eighth in the state tournament.
Wrestling at 152 pounds, Boggiano is undefeated with an 18-0 record this season and is currently ranked No. 1 in the Shore and eighth in the state at that weight class.
After posting a 39-8 record with a second place finish in District 26 and third in Region 7 a year ago at 113 pounds, senior Ryan Rosenthal has a spotless 18-0 record this season, again wrestling at 113.
Senior Mike Nakano had a breakout year as a junior going 23-8 with a third-place finish in District 26 and sixth in Region 7. This season he’s taken another step forward and is the third wrestler on the Mariners squad with undefeated record at 18-0.
Junior heavyweight John O’Donnell is another Mariner who burst onto the scene a year ago when he posted a 29-6 record and placed second in the SCT at 220 pounds, and is 12-2 this season.
Sophomore Jake Rosenthal, Ryan’s younger brother, came on strong as a freshman last season posting a 11-3 record and has picked up where he left off and showing plenty of potential with a 13-4 record while wrestling again at 120 pounds.
Senior Matt Spalletta placed third in District 26 at 160 pounds last season recording a workman-like record of 24-14. Wrestling at 160 pounds again this season, Spalletta checks in with a 12-5 record.
Sophomore Cole Anderson (8-8 at 106 pounds), junior Alex Danelson (12-4 at 126 pounds) and seniors Mark Fideli (10-8 at 132 pounds), O’Neill Forbes (11-5 at 138 pounds), Sergio Borda (14-6 at 145 pounds), Justin Burkert (12-4 at 170 pounds) and James Elias (11-7 at 195 pounds) have all played big roles in the Mariners success this season and will be counted on in the postseason.
On Wednesday, the Mariners clinched at least a tie for the Shore Conference Class A South championship with a 45-26 win over Brick Memorial. Toms River North can clinch the outright Class A title for the second straight season with a win over Central (11-5, 1-2) at Central on Feb. 5.
Brick Memorial (11-3, 3-2), ranked 17th in the state and fourth in the Shore, was forced to forfeit four weights due to injury, however, the Mariners would’ve been favorites in all four matches.
Nakano and Nick Mancuso (1-0) recorded pins, Forbes won, 17-9, for a major decision and Borda won with a 15-0 technical fall.