MHS wrestlers fall short vs. GL

Losing streak reaches five matches

By: Rudy Brandl
   The Manville High wrestling team used its manpower advantage to grab the early lead but couldn’t hold on against visiting Governor Livingston in Saturday afternoon’s home match.
   Manville (1-5) dropped its fifth consecutive match after opening the 2005-06 season with a 48-36 victory over Barringer in Newark back in December. Since the calendar has turned to January, the Mustangs haven’t been able to reach the win column. Saturday’s 45-27 loss to the Highlanders was there for the taking but the Mustangs lost a couple of close decisions and couldn’t stay off their backs in the middle weights.
   Junior heavyweight Mark Manderski posted Manville’s only victory on the mat, going a full six minutes to beat GL senior Manny Couto in a 2-0 decision. MHS fans may remember a thrilling match three years ago when Kile Galasso decked Couto to give the Mustangs a 42-40 triumph in the decisive final bout.
   Couto had the experience advantage against Manderski but couldn’t score against the MHS big man, who’s quietly putting together a very nice season. Manderski has emerged as the team’s most consistent wrestler. He opened the season by winning the jayvee division at the Princeton Tournament and then placed third at the Somerset County Tournament.
   Manderski had to fight for his position at the start of the season, battling another pretty good heavyweight in senior Josh Krantz. The two big men split time last winter but Manderski has taken the lead this year.
   "I’ve been working harder in the room, trying to do my best," Manderski said. "I work out with Josh and the coaches a lot."
   Krantz would fit in nicely at 215 pounds, especially with senior Andrew Schaefer out for the season with a leg injury. Krantz still needs to cut some weight but his presence would give the Mustangs a nice 1-2 punch at the top of their lineup.
   Manville has been filling the other 13 weight classes in every match, which is always one of the goals of sixth-year head coach Brett Stibitz. The extra bodies helped the Mustangs take a 21-9 lead after six bouts Saturday. Unfortunately, the Highlanders reeled off 36 straight bouts with five pins and two decisions to put the match out of reach.
   The match began with GL accepting a forfeit at 215. Manderski’s decision cut the deficit to 6-3. Sophomore 103-pounder Lorena Rivera won by forfeit to give the Mustangs their first lead at 9-6.
   GL won the first of two pivotal decisions at 112 when Andy Reichard blanked Wayne Snell by a 4-0 margin. Manville’s Adam Wolcott and Alberto Rivera followed with forfeit wins at 119 and 125, respectively but that was it for the Mustangs until 189-pounder Glen Hall won by forfeit.
   The Highlanders made short work of the Mustangs in most of the remaining bouts, pinning four times in the first period and once early in the second to pile up 30 quick points. The other key decision came at 140 pounds, where MHS junior Roland Yakobchuk battled hard but fell to Kevin Moore by a 3-0 score. Moore had posted a 10-1 major over Yakobchuk last year at 130 pounds.
   GL clinched its first victory of the season with three straight first-period falls from 145 to 160.
   Manville also dropped road matches at Hopewell Valley (64-9) and New Providence (63-12) last week. Manderski notched a pin in 3:35 and Wolcott added a 6-4 decision for the team’s points at Hopewell Valley.
   The Mustangs will host three matches in a five-day span beginning with Saturday afternoon’s contest vs. Johnson Regional of Clark. Monday night, MHS welcomes a young Carteret squad to town for the first time. Things begin to get considerably tougher after that match with monsters like Roselle Park and Rahway looming on the horizon.