The Egg Harbor Township High School wrestling team, seeded third in South Jersey Group V, fell to top-seeded Howell 36-24 on Friday in the sectional final.

“I’m proud of what they’ve done as a team,” Eagles coach Mike Caiazza said. “I think we could have maybe gotten a few more wins in certain bouts, but Howell is such a good team.”

Connor Agostino got a pin at 195 pounds for the Eagles in the first bout, followed by a decision win for Paul Valian (285 pounds) and a pin for Christian Smith (113). After five bouts, EHT led Howell 15-10.

Howell answered by winning seven of the nine remaining bouts.

“Howell’s team is a tough bunch of wrestlers, and they came out on top,” Caiazza said. “We have the potential to be right there with them, it just didn’t happen today.”

Egg Harbor Township finished its dual-meet season 20-3.

“Our team is an amazing group of kids that really came together over the season. You don’t really see that very often. They all believed in each other and did an amazing job this season,” Caiazza said.

But the Eagles aren’t done yet. They look now to the individual district tournament that begins Saturday. EHT will compete in the District 30 tournament at Clearview Regional High School.

“We’re looking forward to competing next weekend,” Caiazza said. “We couldn’t get our title tonight that we wanted, so now we’re looking ahead to try to get as many kids through to regionals as possible.”

The top three finishers in each of the 32 districts advance to the eight regionals.

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106—Jesse Liptzin H md. Louis Vanacore 11-1; 113—Christian Smith E p. Luke Rada 0:50; 120—Darby Diedrich H d. Terrell Coleman 8-4; 126—Kyle Slendorn H p. Hunter Thomas 5:44; 132—Daniel Esposito H tf. Joseph Brito 23-8 5:26; 138—Evan Richard H d. Cody Dix 6-2; 145—Jason Kaenzig E d. Nick Sulkowski 11-4; 152—Xavier Kelly H d. Mark Woods 8-7; 160—Christian Murphy H d. Matthew Moreno 6-3; 170—Shane Reitsma H d. Mark Mansour 8-2; 182—Nicholas Leone E p. Joe Sardina 4:16; 195—Connor Agostino E p. Danny Schick 3:17; 220—Eric Keosseian H p. Eugene Wayns 2:29; 285—Paul Valian d. Jacob Nash 3-1.

Match began at 195

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