MILLVILLE - Few wrestling teams in the state will enter sectionals with as much momentum as St. Augustine Prep.
The Hermits won their 10th straight match on Wednesday, beating host Millville 47-18 to repeat as Cape-Atlantic League American Conference champions.
"It's awesome," Prep junior 145-pounder Jarred Hodges said. "We all worked so hard to achieve this goal."
No. 11 Millville (17-5 overall, 6-1 conference) was the fourth Elite 11 team the Hermits have beaten during their 10-match winning streak.
St. Augustine (19-2, 7-0) is No. 3 in The Press Elite 11 and tied for 18th in the New Jersey Wrestling Writers Association statewide Top 20 poll.
The Hermits are the top seed in the upcoming South Jersey Non-Public A tournament.
"We're real hot," Hodges said. "I think we have a chance to go all the way. We're wrestling tough. We're technically sound and the camaraderie on this team is awesome."
The match started at 220 pounds and the Thunderbolts jumped out to a 9-0 lead, thanks to their pair of returning state qualifiers.
Obi Kali opened with a pin at 220 and Ed Shockley bumped all the way up from 195 to heavyweight to win a 4-3 decision against District 32 champ Tom Lynd.
But it was all Hermits from there.
The Prep reeled off eight straight wins to put the match away.
Back-to-back pins from Hodges at 145 and Jack Clark at 152 clinched the match with four bouts to go.
"It was a good team match," Prep coach Bill Ward said. "We saved points where we needed, and we got points where we needed them. It was just a good team effort."
Hodges is a returning state qualifier and has high hopes heading into the postseason with a 21-2 record.
"My goal is to win a district title, possibly a region title," Hodges said. "My ultimate goal is to place at states this year. I think I have a really good shot."
Clark improved to 12-0 in New Jersey with his first-period pin.
When including his win total from his first three seasons at a prep school in Maryland, Clark now has 150 career wins with only 15 losses.
But the Hermits are more than just Hodges and Clark. The Prep has talent throughout its lineup.
Colin (113 pounds) and Ed Donahue (132) each had pins, Dillan Taylor (120) and James Brady (195) major decisions.
"They are definitely a stacked team this year," Shockley said. "They are very talented from (106) to heavyweight.
"They are a tough team. We knew that coming in. We tried our best but they came out on top. They brought their A-game tonight."
Shockley wrestles at 195 but intentionally weighed in over that weight so he was able to bump up and face Lynd at heavyweight for the second straight season.
Shockley, who signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Villanova on Wednesday morning, picked up the decision despite giving up almost 70 pounds and is now 28-0 this season.
"My goal is to go undefeated and win a state title," Shockley said. "That's the goal. I'm just trying to take it one match at a time."
Wednesday was Shockley's 110th career win, leaving him just three shy of two-time state champ Mark Saul's school-record of 113.
The Thunderbolts host Shawnee on Monday in the school's first ever home playoff match.
Contact John O’Kane:
106-Reid White M d. Josh Forand 5-1; 113-Colin Donahue SA p. Jose Santiago 3:13; 120-Dillan Taylor SA md. Joham Garcia 9-0; 126-Matt Dellinger SA d. Nate Heaton 9-3; 132- Ed Donahue SA p. Patrick Cassidy :47; 138- Brandon Cirillo SA d. Chad Kahn 4-0; 145-Jarred Hodges SA p. Keith Mahoney 5:25; 152-Jack Clark SA p. Jose Galindez 1:25; 160-Sean Platt M d. Nick Clark 8-6; 170-Connor Dixon M by ff; 182-James Bennett SA by ff; 195-James Brady SA md. Jose Soto 11-1; *220-Obi Kali M p. Ryan Lynd 3:01;285-Ed Shockley M d. Tom Lynd 4-3.
Records-St. Augustine Prep 19-2; Millville 17-5.
*Match began at 220