Wilkes-Barre, PA… The College of New Jersey wrestling team won its second straight Metropolitan Conference Championship behind the strength of two champions and several other place winners on Sunday at Wilkes University.
TCNJ, which is ranked 17th in the latest Brute – Adidas NWCA Division III poll, led the charge with 90 points followed by 14th-ranked New York University (82) and 23rd-ranked Wilkes (71.5). Rounding out the team standings were York (PA) College (67.50), King's College (58), Hunter College (46.5), Centenary (NJ) College (29.0), Elizabethtown College (29.0) and the University of Scranton (9.5). With the win, the Lions have captured their 25 conference tournament in the last 30 tries.
Claiming individual titles and automatic berths in the 2088 NCAA Division III Championships were freshmen John Barnett (Oakridge, NJ/Jefferson Twp.) and Justin Bonitatis (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill East). Barnett was a perfect 3-0 at 149 pounds, while Bonitatis swept his way through his three matches at 165 pounds.
The 2008 NCAA Division III Championships are set for March 7-8 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with Coe College and the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference hosting the event.
The conference also has seven “wild card” spots for the NCAA Championship that will be selected by the coaches. Those selections will be made later this evening.
Barnett won his weight class as the third seed edging New York University’s Matt Magill 5-3 in the finals. The top-seeded Bonitatis won his title with a narrow 2-1 decision against Frank Heffernan of Wilkes.
Two other TCNJ grapplers advanced to the finals as senior Ray Sarinelli (Rockaway, NJ/Morris Hills) and freshman Dan Hughes (Delran, NJ/Delran) each won their first two bouts before falling in the finals. Sarinelli lost to 2007 NCAA Champion Dave Morgan from King’s by fall in 4:40 at 133 pounds, while Hughes fell 12-5 in the title match at 125 pounds to Kyle Flickinger from York.
Four other Lions battled their way to third-place finishes gaining valuable team points. Junior Chris Prihoda (Trenton, NJ/Hamilton) went 4-1 in at 141 pounds scoring a 4-0 decision over Brandon Prentice of Wilkes in the consolation finals.
Sophomore Dan DiColo (Budd Lake, NJ/ Mount Olive) also took third winning his final two matches of the tournament at 157 pounds. He capped his day with a 7-4 victory over Adam Penberthy from Wilkes.
Junior Greg Osgoodby (Waldwick, NJ/Waldwick) was upended in the quarterfinals, but bounced back to take third by pinning Naum Shuminov of NYU in the consolation finals in 6:34 at 174 pounds.
The final Lion to place third was senior Steve Carbone (Cranford,
NJ/Cranford) at heavyweight. Carbone edged Scranton’s Neil Slocum 8-7 in the