St. Augustine Prep dominates District 32 wrestling as 11 Hermits advance to regionals of By JOHN O'KANE, Staff Writer
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - The St. Augustine Prep wrestling team did everything in its power to turn Saturday's District 32 finals into a dual meet with the Hermits taking on the rest of the schools in the district.
The Prep's Nick Clark started the night off with a 2-1 decision against Egg Harbor Township's James Ingersoll to win the 160-pound title.
Older brother Jack ended the night with a 22-7 technical fall against Buena Regional's Mason Brestle to win the 152-pound title.
The Prep had nine wrestlers in the finals with five champs and two more third-place finishers to send a district-best 11 wrestlers through to this week's Region 8 tournament at Egg Harbor Township.
"I'm so proud of our team," Nick Clark said. "Everyone has been working in the room and getting better, which brought is to today.
"Nine in the finals and 11 through - it's a big deal."
The Prep easily repeated as team champs with 242 points. Buena Regional first-year coach George Maxwell was named district coach of the year and 182-pound champ Cooper Gallagher of Ocean City earned most outstanding wrestler.
Jack Clark came into districts trying to prove a point.
The North Carolina commit and fourth-ranked wrestler in the country at 152, Clark said he had a little extra motivation after seeing a statewide poll earlier in the week that listed him as the sixth or seventh best in the state.
"There has been a lot of talk about me and if I should be No. 1 in the state or not," Clark said. "That made me a little upset, and I came out this week and proved a point."
Clark won all three of his matches by technical fall in the first period.
"It wasn't me being arrogant or anything," Clark said. "It was just me trying to get better for regions and states."
The district title was the third in a row for the Hermits and the eighth in school history.
Ocean City's Gallagher reached the finals for the third time in his career and took home his first title.
He also picked up his 100th career win in the final.
"Honestly, I can't even explain the feeling," Gallagher said. "I've been wanting it since I was a freshman.
"Being a runner-up the past two years, I couldn't have asked for anything more. It's the most exhilarating feeling I've ever experienced in my life."
Andrew Solomon made a bit of history on Saturday, becoming Cedar Creek's first district champ.
Third-seeded Solomon pinned second-seeded James Giegold of Absegami in the semifinals Saturday morning and then won a 4-2 decision in the final against top-seeded Reid White of St. Augusine Prep.
"It means a lot," Solomon said. "I put in a lot of work for this."
Local wrestling fans will remember Solomon's cousin, multiple-time state placewinner C.J. Mays of Oakcrest.
"This means a lot to me as a freshman," Solomon said. "I don't know what I'll do now."
Holy Spirit's Pat D'Arcy and Lower Cape May Regional's Cory Damiana each became three-time District 32 champs.
D'Arcy won the 113-pound title with an impressive 12-3 major decision against fellow state qualifier Eric Pruszinski of Lower Cape May.
D'Arcy was upset in last season's region final but went on to finish third in the state.
He said the three district titles are nice, but he is looking forward to trying to win his first region title.
"I just have to train hard," D'Arcy said. "One match at a time, focus on Friday night and see where it lands me."
Damiana can now say he has done something his older brother Billy never did.
Billy Damiana is the school's all-time wins leader and was a state placewinner but only won two district titles.
"I've learned a lot from my brother," Cory said. "He's taught me so much and I really appreciate everything he's done for me, not only him, but my coaches."
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