Jackson wrestlers off to a fast start on the mats

Staff Writer

Jackson wrestlers off to
a fast start on the mats
Staff Writer

JACKSON — Many extra hours spent in the weight room and on the wrestling mat during the off season paid huge dividends for Jackson High School senior Kevin Shelly.

Shelly defeated Andrew Barnish, 8-4, in the finals of the 152-pound weight class of the Jackson Invitational Wrestling tournament last Saturday.

Shelly scored a late four-point takedown deep into the third period to win the title.

"He has improved a lot from last year," Jackson coach Scott Goodale said.

"He has put in a lot of time sharpening his skills and getting stronger. His technique is sharp and his focus was very good. He had a very solid tournament."

Shelly wasn’t the only Jag to capture an individual title. Seniors Jeff Pascarella and Joe Eurell were tabbed co-champions of the 125-pound weight class.

Both wrestlers advanced to the finals, but decided not to wrestle each other to determine a winner.

Senior Preston Brown was Jackson’s other winner. Brown knocked off Jeff Harris of Winslow Township 6-2 in the finals of the 145-pound weight class to win the crown.

In fact, Brown rallied for the triumph after falling behind 2-0 early. He scored six consecutive points to earn the title.

"He is in very good shape," Goodale said. "He wore the other kid down as the match went on. He is very strong for his size and he proved to be too much for his opponent."

Senior Adam Berking finished runner-up. Berking lost to Winslow Township’s Vince Jones, who is the No. 3 rated wrestler in the nation, Goodale said.

Berking scored a big win to advance to the finals, topping Delaware Valley’s Rick Kurts 10-8 in the semifinals.

"That was a quality win for Adam," Goodale said. "That kid won a couple of matches in Atlantic City last year. Adam is on the verge of doing something big. He needed a win like that to push him over the top."

Bobby Van Volkenberg (189) and Pat Richards (215) both finished runner-up. Richards is returning to the team after taking a year off.

"He is going to help this team this year," Goodale said. "He is a quality wrestler. His return is a big plus."

Nick Keshecki (112), Matt Bradley (119) and Joe Slisky (heavyweight) all finished in third place. Robby Wood (189) and Alex Ginsburg (160) both posted two victories to finish in fifth place.

Newcomers freshmen Dave Concepcion (140) and Robby Swann (103) each won two matches after dropping a first-round match to place fifth.

"We’ve got a nice mix of experience and youth on this year’s team," Goodale said. "We’ve got a lot of tough matches ahead of us and I think that we are going to be competitive. If we stay healthy and wrestle the way we are capable, we should be one of the top teams in the league."