Woodbridge wrestling is young and ready to go


The middle of the lineup is expected to anchor this year’s team when Woodbridge High School gets the new season started at 9 a.m. Dec. 15 at the Hopatcong Invitational.

The Buchan brothers Matt and Will, wrestling at 135 and 145 pounds, respectively, will look to build off last season’s success and lead the Barons to another solid season.

A district champion last season, Matt returns for his senior year with his sights set on Atlantic City and the state tournament.

“Matt lost by one point in the district semifinals last year, so he’s really looking forward to getting the new season under way,” Woodbridge head coach Ed Braunsdorf said. “Will was a region finalist and a state qualifier at 140 pounds last year. These two guys will definitely be anchoring the lineup.”

The Barons will need the Buchan brothers to step it up a notch in the leadership department, considering the team lost three key grapplers due to transfers. Jerry Valdez (112 pounds), Craig Batista (160 pounds) and heavyweight Elvis Diaz all relocated during the offseason. Batista departs after a 30- match win season.

“Losing the transfers in addition to graduating Chris Nercado (23 wins) and district finalist Jose Gonzalez (215 pounds) was tough,” Braunsdorf said.

Junior Brian Chin picked up 14 wins last year at 103 and will look to continue his success at 112 pounds. Sophomore Chuck Sabin was outstanding at 119 pounds last year with a 21-9 record.

“Chuck is in a tough situation this year because he’ll be wrestling at 135 or 140,” Braunsdorf said. “Matt Buchan is in the same class, but we will get Chuck on the mat to get him the experience he needs to keep getting better.”

Seniors Jerry Pohida and Mike Moore are also back in the lineup. Pohida will make the move from 145 to either 152 or 160 pounds this season while Moore is expected to grapple at 171 after seeing action at 152 pounds a year ago.

A handful of younger wrestlers will occupy the lower classes, with sophomore Rob Rivera heading the list at 103 pounds.

“Rob is a second-year wrestler and he’s at a weight class where he can compete,” Braunsdorf said. “Sophomores Aaron Landy and Tony Bacca also bring some experience to the lineup.”

Landy is expected to see time at 119 pounds while Bacca will wrestle at 125 pounds. Junior Casey Wagner and C.J. Sanjurjo will battle for the 130-pound slot.

“I expect Casey and C.J. to battle back and forth through the year for that position,” Braunsdorf said. “The competition will only help both of them in the long run.”

“Overall, we have a young, untested team this year,” Braunsdorf said. “We are very excited about the season and about the Hopatcong Invitational. There should be some state tournament-caliber kids and a lot of tough competition in attendance.”