Barnegat Leader Winter Sports Previews

With Cotton Leading the Way, Barnegat Wrestlers Should Be an Improved Bunch

Dec 18, 2018

For the few years prior to last winter, the Barnegat wrestling team was a struggling program. Last season, coach Ken MacIver’s crew turned things around a bit, going 13-11 for the first winning season since 2013. This time around, the Bengals may have a lineup that not only can maintain a winning season, but can also win frequently.

“We have a nice mix of returning veterans led by a strong senior class,” MacIver said. “We’re hoping to be a competitive team in the division.”

With the loss of career wins leader Sean Foley to graduation, the Bengals have a big hole to fill among the lower weights. But beyond that, they appear to be in solid shape, particularly with their middle and upper weight classes.

The guy leading the charge this season will be senior Charlie Cotton, who snared 35 victories last season – a single-season record for the program – and captured the runner-up spot in NJSIAA District 32 and fifth in Region VIII at 182 pounds. Cotton is strong, experienced and a good leader, and he’ll most likely be the Bengals’ go-to wrestler at 182 or 195 pounds.

Slightly farther up the lineup will reside seniors Peter Jennings (220), who went 15-13 a year ago, and Joe Lauer (285), who compiled a 9-5 record in a split role, while junior Griffin Jackstadt (285), who went 5-4 last winter, likely will complete the other half of that split heavyweight class.

In the middle, the Bengals are solid and will rely on juniors Michael DiPianta, 16-15 last season, at 138 pounds; Mason Bayer, who tallied 10 wins last year, at 145 pounds; and seven-match winner Rashidi Alleyne at 170 pounds. Sophomore Valentino Iorio, 8-7 last season, and senior Matt Davies will be the mainstays at 160. Sophomore Stephen Jennings, who won six bouts a year ago, will bounce between 170 and 182.

On the lower end of the weight scale, junior Jacob Reinhold (7-5) will see most of his time at 126 pounds, while returning sophomores Alizer Ruiz, Jaheim Anderson, Anthony Cogliano and T.J. Crudup will see mat time at 120, 126 and 132 pounds.

The Bengals won’t be able to rely entirely on their middle and upperweights against some of the better teams in the Shore Conference Class B South division, and that’s where many of the newcomers to the squad will be asked to step up and bolster the lineup in various positions.

Senior 106-pounder Robert Killmer, junior 106-pounder Dante Powell, freshman 132-pounder Kevin Fazio, freshman 145-pounder James Circle and senior 160-pounder Matt Davies are among that group of new wrestlers.

With the NJSIAA’s institution of girls wrestling this year, it’s worth noting Barnegat also will have several girls competing at various points of the season, including senior Karina Santiago, juniors Jessica Polcaro and Adrianna Talluto, and freshman Jailynn Ramirez.

David Biggy

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