Wrestling: St. Augustine Prep falls to Christian Brothers Academy in South Jersey final
BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - The St. Augustine Prep wrestling team is developing a tradition it would like to do without.
Second-seeded Christian Brothers Academy beat the top-seeded Hermits 45-23 in the South Jersey Non-Public A final Friday to advance to Sunday's state Non-Public A championship against North Jersey power Bergen Catholic.
It's the third straight season CBA has knocked the Hermits out of the sectional tournament.
"They're a good team," Prep coach Bill Ward said. "We're not at our best, but I don't want to take anything away from them. They wrestled well."
The Hermits have been weighing in a full squad for strategic purposes, but in reality they were missing four starters.
"It's frustrating," Ward said. "We basically had four starters out, which is big when you're trying to win a playoff match, but that's part of (being a) team.
"Teams have to perform whether guys are in or out of the lineup."
Senior Tom Gattinella gave the Hermits, No. 7 in The Press Elite 11, a 20-15 lead after seven of 14 weight classes with a technical fall at 120 pounds.
Junior Ed Donahue followed with a 3-1 loss to state qualifier Erik Beshada at 126 as the Hermits held on to a 20-18 lead.
But CBA's Nick Melon followed with a pin against Prep sophomore Jarred Hodges at 132 to give the Colts the lead for good.
With the match out of reach, the Hermits forfeited the final two weights.
"We went out and wrestled our hearts out," Prep senior Tyler Sentman said. "They're tough. We knew even with a full lineup it was going to be a tooth-and-nail."
Sentman had one of two pins on the night for the Hermits (sophomore Tom Lynd the other). Sentman bumped up to 182 and won by fall in the second period.
"This is a tough loss, but I'm excited to move on and get (individual) districts started," said Sentman, a defending District 32 champ. "I have to try to reach my individual goals now."
CBA beat the Hermits in the semifinals in 2011 and in the sectional final last season.
"This means so much," CBA coach Russ Witt said. "We graduated 188 wins from last year, which was the most in the Shore Conference.
"A lot of people wrote us off, but we're getting it done with six and seven freshman in the lineup night after night."
Witt is a Lacey Township High School graduate and won the 119-pound state title in 1997.
Witt wouldn't mind a rematch with St. Augustine next year, with just one condition.
"I hope it's home next year," he joked. "It's a two-hour drive."
Notes: St. Augustine junior James Bennett, the No. 2-ranked 182-pounder in the area and a returning District 32 placewinner, has been weighing in during the postseason but said after the match he is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Contact John O'Kane:
106-Reid White SA d. Carl Vasti 7-2; 113-Dylan VanSickle CBA d. Colin Donahue 6-4; 120-Tom Gattinella SA tf. Ben Kuhn 19-4 (5:50); 126-Erik Beshada CBA d. Ed Donahue 3-1; 132-Nick Melon CBA p. Jarred Hodges 1:43; 138-Christian Casselli CBA p. Sean Chase :48; 145-Nick Clark SA d. Tyler Mabry 7-0; 152-Jack LaCorte d. Aaron Denesevich 7-1; 160-Chris Koutzen CBA by forfeit; 170-Will Oxley CBA by forfeit; *182-Tyler Sentman SA p. Justin Kiesler 2:48; 195-Mike Oxley CBA p. Cory Pietrzyk :32; 220-Kevin Hoegler CBA p. Patrick Russomanno :28; 285-Tom Lynd SA p. Alex Petrocelli 1:17.
Records-St. Augustine Prep 17-11; CBA 15-4.