Justin Feil

By: centraljersey.com
As enjoyable as the New Egypt High wrestling team’s season was last year, Brad Schwarze wanted to be a bigger part of it.
Then a freshman, Schwarze went 7-4 at 145 pounds. But he did not wrestle a match after Jan. 19 for the Warriors varsity. So he did not share in their trip to the Central Jersey Group I finals, played a small part in their fourth straight Burlington County Freedom Division title and didn’t have the chance to compete at districts.
"Last year was a little bit of a disappointment to me," said Schwarze. "I lost my spot in the middle of the season to a senior. I worked hard over the summer. I wanted to come back better to have a good season. I want to get 100 (career) wins."
Schwarze is one-quarter of the way there after improving to 18-2 overall this season, tied for second-best in wins on the Warriors, after a 3-0 weekend that included a win over Highland Park, the last team that Schwarze competed against last season.
"I’m happy," Schwarze said, before adding quickly, "but not satisfied."
Schwarze has won 14 straight matches and recorded pins in his last six matches. Only five of his opponents have taken to the mat with him and escaped a pin.
"He’s got that weird style that people can’t figure out," said New Egypt coach Kevin English, who also coached Schwarze’s brother Mark a couple of years ago. "He puts people in bad situations. He does good things and goes to work." Schwarze and the Warriors were scheduled to face one of their biggest tests Wednesday against Bordentown, one of their new contenders after moving up from the Freedom Division after four straight championships to the Patriot Division.
"That’d be huge," Schwarze said. "I definitely think we can do it.
"We are where we need to be, but we definitely need to get better," he added. "We have room for improvement."
The Warriors have opened the season 11-2. They have lost to St. John Vianney and to Red Bank Catholic, the latter was an early wake-up call. New Egypt beat Red Bank by 48 last year, but lost by a point on Dec. 22.
"You take the losses and you use them as motivation to get better," English said. "I told them, you could have won those two matches. You can let it define your season, or you can use it as motivation."
New Egypt turned things around quickly with a history-making 37-36 win over Delran on Jan. 8. It was their first win over the Bears in program history, and it was a pin by Schwarze, who’d bumped up to 160, that started the turnaround after Delran led, 30-16.
"We were losing and I needed to put out some big points," Schwarze said. "I just wrestled hard and pinned my kid."
Kenny Massa and Tyler Miller followed with pins and Rigo Morfin sealed the win with a victory at 215, a big bump up for the 189-pounder. The win gave the Warriors some history, and gave them a jump start in their new Patriot Division.
"That was a huge win," Schwarze said. "That boosted our confidence a lot. We’ve never beaten Delran before. It helps us think we can do better. It helps us realize we’re a very good team."
Added English: "Right now, we’re on a 9-match win streak. The kids understand we can be very good, but not anyone can take a break."
In Schwarze, they know they have someone who got all the motivation he will need to keep working last year. He came back to the team this year with higher expectations for himself.
"I did a lot of wrestling over the summer, and I got a lot better," he said. "I’m having a pretty good season so far. I’d like to maybe place in the district, place in the region, and go to the state tournament."
Schwarze has been tough to keep down when he’s on bottom, and he’s working to become an even tougher wrestler as he develops his moves from his feet and taking more opponents down. Every day, Schwarze competes with the heavier Massa, Miller and Morfin. They have helped him develop quickly into a reliable member of the varsity.
The Warriors are showing promise up and down the lineup. Matt Carr is 19-1 at 103 pounds, Kit Creager is 12-2 at 119, Kyle Hendrickson is 14-7 at 135, Massa is 8-3 at 152, Miller is 17-3 160, Ryan Molokie is 17-2 at 112, Morfin won his first 18 matches before falling against Highland Park on Saturday and Sean Pryzbylkowski is 14-6 at 125.
"We’re a pretty strong team," English said. "We’re never going to win huge. Our schedule is at the point where it’s pretty difficult. We have a core of kids we’ll bank on winning and we’ve got another group that we hope won’t give up a lot of points.
"For the most part, we’ve had to work hard for our wins. We have seven or eight solid guys that we’re counting on to win. Some of them, we’re counting on to win by pin."
With 14 wins by pin already, Brad Schwarze is one of those guys that the Warriors are depending on each match. The expectations are not pressure, but rather just what he wants because it shows how much he’s improved since last year.
Said Schwarze: "I feel more confident when I go on the mat."