Wrestlers preparing for MCT


By: John E. Powers
   Lawrence High School’s wrestling team is putting together a memorable season. But now is the time of year when the Cardinals can really make their mark.
   The Cardinals, who have gotten out to a 10-1 start in dual meets, head to Friday and Saturday’s Mercer County Tournament at Trenton High School as favorites. If the Cardinals do win, it would be their first county championship.
   Last Saturday, Lawrence coach Chris Lynne’s team routed Trenton and West Windsor-Plainsboro North 64-6 and 64-14 to improve to 9-0 in Colonial Valley Conference action. On Sunday, senior Mark Savino lost a tough 4-2 decision to Randolph’s Matt Kaplan at 130 pounds at the annual Coaches Association All-Star Match at Rider University. On Monday night, the Cardinals found that they were third in the power points race behind second-place Wall and first-place Ocean Township for the upcoming Central Jersey Group III playoffs.
   "Trying to figure out those power points can make your head hurt," Lynne said.
   Seedings can also make a coach’s heads hurt, but Lynne should make out pretty well when the county tournament is seeded today. The Cardinals received a big performance by sophomore Dan Williams, who majored Trenton’s Tyronne White at 160 pounds 12-4 Saturday. Williams could now receive a top seed, along with Savino, 112-pounder Matt Friedman and 215-pounder Adam Oliszewski. Chris Floyd (160) and Brian Friedeborn (189) could also receive top seeds for the tournament.
   "You can only seed wrestlers with winning records, so 13 of our 14 kids can get seeded," Lynne said. "But you never know how a tournament is going to go.
   "Just because you’re a good dual meet team doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good tournament team, and the same is true the other way around."
   Savino, who became the first Colonial Valley Conference wrestler to receive an invitation to wrestle in the All-Star Classic, gave up only a 4-point move to Kaplan in the second period. After taking Savino down, Kaplan put the Cardinal to his back and wrestled defensively the rest of the way.
   Savino, 96-15 for his career, lost to Kaplan 5-4 in last year’s state tournament wrestleback rounds. Kaplan wound up fifth at 125, while Savino finished seventh.
   "Mark (Savino) just got beat on a bad shot," Lynne said. "He was winning at the time.
   "The kid stalled, stalled and stalled, but that’s his style. Mark knows he can beat him. The kid couldn’t hold Mark down. Mark rode Kaplan out for the whole third period, but give credit where credit’s due."
   Kaplan is regarded as the top wrestler in the 130-pound weight class, so Savino didn’t lose much.
   "But this doesn’t dampen Mark’s dream of winning a state title. It was a match where, either way, Mark couldn’t lose."