Tuckerton Leader

New Head Coach Builds Pinelands Wrestling Program This Winter

Dec 01, 2017
Photo by: Jack Reynolds Senior Brennan Richardson finished with 24 wins last season and expects to be one of the leaders for the Pinelands Regional wrestling team this winter.

Joe Adelizzi doesn’t have a bag of tricks he plans to dip into during the wrestling season.

“Right now, we’re trying to build the number of athletes within the program,” said the first-year head coach, who had previously assisted Ron Laycock at his alma mater, Toms River South, before arriving at the Pinelands Regional district three years ago. “The No. 1 priority right now is get athletes onto the mat and develop a passion for wrestling. If you can find kids who like to compete, they’ll buy into the process of all the hard work that goes into the sport. Then it’s a matter of turning them into wrestlers.”

Fortunately for Adelizzi, he has several wrestlers already returning to the mat this winter, as the Wildcats, who were 8-11 last season, attempt to rebuild within the confines of the Shore Conference Class B South division.

Leading that charge will be senior Brennan Richardson (160/170 pounds), who finished 24-13 and placed second in NJSIAA District 31, as well as sixth in Region 8, a year ago. Adding to the depth among the upperweights will be seniors Jacob Mena (160/170), who was 14-5 before getting injured toward the end of last season; and Chris Milano (170/182) and junior Evan Burton (195), who won 14 bouts a year ago.

“We have some wrestlers who will provide stability and leadership for the team,” Adelizzi said. “Within our lineup, as it is now, we’ll have more returning starters than at any time during the previous few years. They understand the expectations and can show the younger guys what the coaches are talking about when it’s necessary.”

Also returning this season are senior Nick Shano (152), juniors Hayden Jeannotte (106/113), Sam Cardillo (132/138) and Dylan Imbrenda (132/138), and sophomores Travis Brown (126) and Avery Maski (220/285).

But Adelizzi also is excited about the number of newcomers to the squad – a mixture of older and younger guys who have athletic ability and may turn out to be excellent role players. Among them is senior Vinnie Pace, a heavyweight who wrestled when he was an eighth-grader and somebody Adelizzi expects to fit right into the lineup once the season begins.

Beyond Pace, the Wildcats have some depth in a bunch of weight classes. The rest of the newcomers include seniors Liam McGettigan (138/145) and Joe Knowlton (145); juniors Kyle Rasmussen (138/145), Alex Haldenwang (145) and Bryan Mendez (220/285); sophomores Thomas Gessner (132/138), Ethan Roberts (138/145), Kyle Princiotti (170) and John Morrin (170/182); and freshmen Bryce LeFevre (106/113), Tyler Conrad (120), Gavin Stewart (138/145), Connor Harris (160/170), Andrew Staub (182) and Tom McNeil (285).

“We’re not in bad shape,” said Adelizzi, whose Wildcats will compete in the Colt Classic and Middletown South tournaments during the first half of the season and open up with duals against Lacey and Point Pleasant Borough in December. “Realistically, we’re not far from where we wanted to be. The beginning part of our schedule is the toughest part, and in the long term that can help us. The whole point is for every wrestler to be at his best by the district tournament. And for a lot of our wrestlers, that’s going to happen.”

David Biggy

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