On Saturday, some household names won the NJSIAA/Rothman Orthopedics District 23 wrestling titles for Brick Memorial. Some unknown names have also won championships for the Golden Mustangs.
Unsurprisingly, a wrestler from Brick Memorial was named the tournament’s top wrestler. His name was Brody Elk.
Elk, a junior, was a part-time starter for Brick Memorial. He entered the tournament with a 1-3 college record. He beat second-seeded Dean Canfield of Brick Township in the quarterfinals, 9-5. He took down Freehold Township’s third-seeded Liam Flanagan 13-6 in the semis and pinned top-seeded Jonah Bowers in the final.
“He (Elk) let him (Bowers) down twice,” Brick Memorial head coach Mike Kiley said. “The second time you could see him setting it up. It was his coming out party.
Brick Memorial – earning early efforts from two wrestlers who weren’t even starters during the regular season – won 10 individual tiles, advanced 12 to next week’s Region 6 Championships and won their 30th District Tag Team Championship.
Brick Memorial won the tag team title, finishing with 280 points. Long Branch (131.5) was second and Freehold Township (130) third.
Returning state champion Evan Tallmadge (120) and fellow senior Ryan Smith (150) both won a third district title. Tallmadge scored two technical falls on his way to the championship. Smith had two pins and a technical fall in the final.
Brick Memorial’s other returning state champion, once-defeated junior Anthony Santaniello, was his second district championship and also scored two technical falls en route to the title at 132 pounds.
Elk was one of the surprises at the Memorial. The other was 215-pound Mike Owusu. Owusu, a junior, was 2-5 in the regular season.
“Mike came out in second grade, he’s a kid who doesn’t say boo, but works hard every day,” Kiley said. “He got his chance and now his name will be on our wall (the wall of fame) forever.”
Owusu came from the fifth seed to win. He won his first fight while his opponent was injured. In the semi-finals, he was 14-4 winner over Nicholas Benjamino of Freehold Township. In the final, he shut out third seed Bashaar Ismail of Shore, 9-0.
“What Brody and Mike did was a tribute to their hard work and the quality of our (wrestling) room,” Kiley said. “I’m so proud of these two kids and every kid on our team.
“Our team was going crazy when these kids won.”
The other Brick Memorial champions were Gavin Martin (106), Lucas Torre (126), Braden Scott (138), Harvey Ludington (175) and Sam Azzaretti (285). Also for Memorial, Cory Martin (190) placed second and Josh James (175) also qualified for regionals.
First place medals were also won by: Ryan Dubnik (113) of Freehold Township; Long Branch’s Angel Bonnano (157) and Shore’s Liam Rosa (165) and Jamie Mazzacco (190).
Resumption of performances: Brick Memorial’s Evan Tallmadge (120) and Ryan Smith (150) each won a Third District Championship; Brick Memorial’s Anthony Santeniello (132) and Braden Scott (138) won their second titles.
Outstanding Wrestler: Brody Elk, a 144-pound junior from Brick Memorial. Elk, who was 1-3 entering the districts, recorded two decisions and a pin in the finals.
team champion: Brick Memorial.
Coach of the year: Jesse Heubel, Township of Freehold
assistant of the year: Joe Lindenbaum, Brick Township
The NJ High School Sports newsletter now appears in mailboxes 5 days a week. Sign up now and be among the first to get all the sports for boys and girls you care about, delivered straight to your inbox every weekday. To add your name, Click here.
Thank you for counting on us to deliver journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.