Wrestlers show well at tourney


By: John E. Powers
   The Lawrence High School wrestling team, which took an encouraging third at the season-opening Garden State Classic at Princeton High School on Dec. 20, faced a stronger and deeper field at the Hunterdon Central Christmas Tournament last Saturday. The Cardinals did just fine.
   Matt Friedman, second in the tournament last year at 103, was second at 112 to Jefferson’s John Barnett. Mark Savino, third a year ago at 130, was second at 135 to Jefferson’s Adam Valimont, and 215-pounder Adam Olisvewski, fifth last year at 215, was second to Region 6 champ Kevin Davis of Toms River East.
   "Last year, we went in there and we had a second, a third and two fifths," Lawrence coach Chris Lynne said. "This year, we had three finalists. I think we did really well."
   All of it was achieved despite the team having suffered through a bad stretch of the flu. Chris Floyd, who had won the 145-pound weight class at Princeton, had the flu and was left home. Savino also suffered from the flu.
   "We had like 15 guys out of the room because of the flu," Lynne said. "I think it had something to do with the water bottles at the Princeton Tournament, passing the bug around. I think that Mark was worn out by the time he got to the final. He was sick all week and didn’t practice until Friday. But he was going all out. Valimont won and you have to give him credit."
   Savino, a seventh-place state tournament place-winner at 125, was beaten for the second straight year by Valimont, a runner-up at Region 1 last year. Valimont beat Savino 9-4 in the tournament semis last year and beat the Cardinal star 5-1 this year.
   Valimont, the top seed, had two late first-period falls on his way to the finals, while Savino opened with a fall before beating Hunterdon Central’s scrappy Nick Alparone 10-6 in the semifinals.
   "Valimont is a long-armed kid and he was able to hold off Mark’s shots," Lynne said. "Valimont is quick and has a low shot and he got Mark twice. Sometimes it’s just a question of conflict of styles. Mark’s a perfectionist. He doesn’t like losing to anybody. He takes losing hard, but he’ll rebound."
   Valimont will likely remain at 135, while Savino will drop to 130.
   Barnett scored one takedown and made it stand up in a 2-0 win over Friedman, the No. 2 seed.
   "We thought Friedman had a takedown in the first period, but he just couldn’t score on the kid," Lynne said. "Matt had a good takedown and we thought we had it, but the kid beat him to it. Matt just couldn’t turn the kid."
   Oliszewski battled top-seeded Davis at 215 before falling 7-3. Davis, beaten in last year’s Central final by the home team’s Mark Eberstein — who went on to place second at the state tournament — finished seventh in the state tournament. Oliszewski was the third seed at Central. Oliszewski trailed just 5-3 heading into the late stages of the match and took a desperation shot, but was taken down.
   "He proved he belonged there," Lynne said of his wrestler.
   Matt Friedeborn was sixth at 103, splitting two of four bouts and winning both matches against Delran wrestlers. Brian Friedeborn also went 2-2, taking a sixth at 189. Brian suffered a tough fate, building leads against South Plainfield’s Kevin Crilley in a preliminary round bout and again in the match for fifth before being pinned both times
   "It happened in a blink of an eye, and I’m not sure how the kid was able to pin Brian," Lynne said. "I’m still trying to figure out what it was. Brian really wrestled well."
   Dan Williams had the chore of matching up with Hunterdon Central star 160-pounder Jeff Harrington, who won his second holiday crown. Williams opened by pinning Toms River East’s Jay Allocca, then lost a 12-2 major to Harrington. Williams was eliminated from the wrestlebacks by Old Bridge’s Mike Maiello.
   "Danny looked good, "Lynne said. "He wasn’t getting bullied."